Breitbart News caused a stink when it reported on presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s alleged comments on Obama’s unilateral executive immigration programs.

The headline inaccurately suggested that Rubio supported President Obama’s executive immigration overreach. As we will discuss, this was only one of numerous mistranslations.

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 5.55.35 PM

The latest offense involves Senator Rubio’s recent interview about immigration policy with Univision. Senator Rubio reiterated his well documented position on the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs. Rubio clearly says the programs will have to end. Interestingly enough, Sen. Cruz shares Sen. Rubio’s opinions on DAPA and DACA.

Conducted completely in Spanish, Rubio’s interview became the focus of unwarranted ire after Breitbart News’ Matt Boyle used what appears to be a poor translation. Boyle claimed based on the poor translation that Senator Rubio’s comments, “to Ramos in Spanish show that he’s significantly further left than the majority of Republicans in Congress on this issue,” and that, “as he [Rubio] continues exposing his true beliefs when it comes to immigration matters, his emotional rhetoric as a presidential candidate will be undercut by his support of policies the Republican electorate is vehemently opposed to like Obama’s executive amnesty.”

It’s Freudian, really.

In the interest of establishing a bias base-line, it’s also worth noting that in the same article, Boyle managed to take this quote given shortly after Rubio’s presidential announcement:

“Well, I don’t know about others, but I’ve done more immigration than Hillary Clinton ever did,” Rubio said in an interview with National Public Radio. “I mean, I helped pass an immigration bill in a Senate dominated by Democrats. And that’s more than she’s ever done. She’s given speeches on it, but she’s never done anything on it.”

And translated the above-mentioned quote into Rubio touting his support for illegals writing, “when Rubio announced he was running for president, too, he actually argued he’s done more for illegal aliens than Hillary Clinton has.”

Unfortunately for Boyle and Breitbart News, the claim that Rubio is a pro-amnesty loving leftist wolf in sheep’s clothing doesn’t hold up when the correct Spanish to English translation is applied.

Sarah Rumpf of Breitbart Texas was the first to point out the error. Breitbart Texas is run by border reporter and Breitbart protege, Brandon Darby.

First, the interview:

As Rumpf pointed out:

The critical section is here, in English:

But DACA, I think it is important; it can’t be cancelled suddenly because there are already people who are benefitting from it. But it is going to have to end. It cannot be the permanent policy of the United States.

And here is the original Spanish:

Pero DACA, yo creo que es importante, no se puede cancelar de un momento al otro porque ya hay personas que están beneficiando. Pero sí va a tener que terminar. No puede ser la política permanente de Estados Unidos.

As an important side note: it’s customary immigration legislative policy that individuals receiving an immigration benefit be grandfathered in or transitioned into a new benefit should policy affecting current benefits change. So Rubio’s remarks are consistent with that precedent.

Rubio did not say he supports DACA or that it’s important because there are individuals receiving DACA benefits.

Boyle also claimed, “Rubio answered that DACA will end only when a legislative substitute with the exact same or similar policy prescriptions—a legislative amnesty for illegal alien minors—is implemented,” and “that, if elected president, he believes that America cannot deport illegal aliens here in the country right now.” Neither statement is true.

Rumpf reached out to Sen. Rubio’s staff who indicated the original Breitbart News interpretation was inaccurate.

As Rubio spokesman Alex Conant told Breitbart News, “Marco went on Spanish media this week and rejected a comprehensive immigration reform approach, said that the immigration executive orders won’t be permanent policy under his administration, and that he would oppose legalization today because we first need to prevent a future illegal immigration crisis by enforcing our laws.”

“Marco also said it’s important not to end DACA immediately since it would be disruptive given all the people that have it,” continued Conant, “but that at a certain point it would have to end since it cannot be the permanent policy of the land.”

“In case anything was lost in translation, he believes we have to fix our broken immigration system in a series of smaller bills, starting with border security and enforcement, then modernizing our legal immigration system, and then eventually dealing with the illegal immigrants living here,” said Conant.

Native Spanish speakers verify the Rubio camp’s claims:

A source close to Rubio who is a native speaker of Spanish told Breitbart News that the word “important” is being taken out of context, and that Rubio was not saying that DACA was important, but that his approach not to cancel the program immediately was an important concept. In other words, the word “important” belongs to the phrase that follows it, not the word “DACA” immediately preceding. This interpretation makes sense, since in the very next sentence and then repeatedly throughout the interview, Rubio says that the program must end.

In contrast, the translation relied upon by the original Breitbart News article from the media service Grabien flips this around, saying, “I believe DACA is important. It can’t be terminated from one moment to the next, because there are already people benefiting from it.”

According to our source, even the Univision translation was a little imprecise, and said that a more word-for-word translation of Rubio’s words would be “But DACA, I think it’s important not to cancel it from one moment to the next because you already have people benefiting from it.”

Others seem to have the same opinion:

Legal Insurrection reached out to a Spanish-speaking immigration expert who had this to say regarding the Boyle’s article and the translation dispute:

He’s [Rubio] not saying that DACA itself is important, but that how DACA is dealt with is an important issue.

The article is sneaky. It inserts correct translations of the interview, but then adds meaning that was never intended and outright adds ideas that Rubio never expressed in the interview. For example, the article states “Rubio answered that DACA will end only when a legislative substitute with the exact same or similar policy prescriptions—a legislative amnesty for illegal alien minors—is implemented.” He did not say that. Rubio actually didn’t really answer the question Jorge Ramos asked about what he would do about DACA if no immigration reform was passed. Rubio just stated that he believes that he can pass immigration reform if he is president.

The article also states, “He also said in Spanish that, if elected president, he believes that America cannot deport illegal aliens here in the country right now.” He did not say that either. At the end of the interview clip, Rubio stated that the issue of 12 million undocumented aliens is an issue that needs to be addressed and that no one is advocating that 12 million people be deported, which the article itself quotes a few paragraphs later.

Does the placement of “important” really matter?

You bet it does. Something Andrew Breitbart believed comes to mind here. The left spends plenty of capital tearing down the right; it’s counterproductive to needlessly do the same to our own.

Criticisms will be made when they are justified. We’re certainly not shy here at Legal Insurrection.

Likewise, factual reporting regarding the most ridiculous claims will also be exposed. We’ve done so numerous times this election cycle (see here, here, here, here, here, and here) and will continue to dissect bias narratives, regardless of their ideological origins.

Follow Kemberlee Kaye on Twitter


Matt Boyle keeps digging:

According to transcripts provided both by Univision itself and by the media service company Grabien, Rubio said he would not revoke DACA immediately upon election to the White House should he win the GOP primary then the general election.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.