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Bad translation misrepresents Rubio’s immigration comments

Bad translation misrepresents Rubio’s immigration comments

Lost in translation?

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.

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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.


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Let’s start with the Spanish elephant in the room. Why the hell is a presidential candidate feel the need to give an interview in Spanish in the first place?

If you insist on English, then you will not have these problems. If your constituency doesn’t even speak English, then I submit you are the freaking problem.

Now, you introduce not only MSM bias and interpretation, but a freaking language barrier that cannot be interpreted by Americans who are perfectly happy speaking only English and have no damned desire to learn Spanish or Swahili or whatever.

Here is a shovel, Rubio. Keep digging.

    Petrushka in reply to gettimothy. | April 19, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    That’s silly. Univision reaches a large and mostly legal voting block that the demodrats would normally have locked up without effort.

    Exiliado in reply to gettimothy. | April 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    The interview was on Univision.
    I don’t know if you are informed on this little detail, but Univision transmits in Spanish, for a target audience that speaks Spanish.

      Yes. that is what I was commenting on. The fact that we have a sub-population in America that speaks Spanish as the ‘native’ tongue is the problem we are trying to correct.

      Will the problem be clear to you when the candidates are mis-interpreted speaking to a largely Chinese audience? Somali? Hindi?

      Language, culture and borders are not silly matters.

        Exiliado in reply to gettimothy. | April 19, 2015 at 9:04 pm

        You can ask the same question to the candidate in English and receive an answer in English.
        Why would you try to translate from Spanish, or Chinese, or Somali or Hindi if you don’t know those languages?
        And why would a candidate speak a language he/she does not know?

        Marco Rubio is fluent in both Spanish and English. I see no issue here other than somebody, probably intentionally, changing the meaning of what he actually said.

        Exiliado in reply to gettimothy. | April 19, 2015 at 9:06 pm

        By the way, Spanish is MY native language too.

        Like Marco Rubio, I am fluent in both Spanish and English.
        I am an American citizen, and I do vote and pay taxes.
        Maybe it was others like me Rubio was talking to. Too bad I don’t watch Univision.

          Juba Doobai! in reply to Exiliado. | April 19, 2015 at 11:07 pm

          Why does Rubio need to speak to any audience in Spanish? The Unavision audience has a responsibility to be functional in English. This is America, not El Salvador, Mexico, or wherever. If they have just come off the boat, then they should not be voting, and the exclusion from the political discourse is impetus to learn the language so they can participate—providing they are legal.

          Rubio, from the first time he ran for national office, demonstrated more interest in Spanish-speaking illegal aliens than he did in the citizens people who were going to vote for him. How many in the audience of Unavision are citizens legally allowed to vote? How many are illegal aliens who have been busily nullifying our vote to achieve their desires? His interest in Spanish-speaking immigrants is understandable; however, he cannot elevate their interests over those of the American people and the country’s welfare.

          If the Hispanic population wants to be fully participatory in American life, let them do so in English. The existence of Unavision is a bar to English learning and use, an impediment to assimilation. Plus, “mistranslations” will not be an issue.

          Besides, didn’t his handlers recant their “mistranslation” gambit?

    Bigurn in reply to gettimothy. | April 20, 2015 at 5:27 am

    Tim, let me help you. It’s the 21st century. It is both beneficial and enlightening to be able to speak more than one language, if you purport to be the leader of the free world.

    I’m not on board with disparaging candidates who use their communication skills to appeal to a broader audience. The Latino population is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, growing populations in the country. How best to reach out to them, but in their own language. Affinity is a powerful and emotive conditioner. It wins elections; hell, at least it’s not playing basketball poorly or crappy saxophone playing.

    I’m the whitest guy you’ll ever meet, and all-‘Murica, and I speak Spanish, French, Portugues and Italian. It’s a brave new world out there, my friend. Embrace it, and we can lead it.

      CloseTheFed in reply to Bigurn. | April 20, 2015 at 10:38 am

      In other words, our government – dems and gop – are not going to enforce our border or our immigration laws, and they’re going to allow at 1 or 2 million legal foreigners per year, so just understand you’re going to be buried under foreigners and get used to it.


      English is our language. No one running for office should use any other while speaking about their candidacy or legislation. The fact is Americans have a right to know what the candidate says. We have a right to assume that he may propound a different position when he speaks a foreign language. Rubio is a snake with a forked tongue.

      Illegal aliens shouldn’t be voting anyway. And if you’re bilingual, then you can understand him in English, too.

      America is for Americans.


      Please distinguish between a person being multi-lingual and a multi-lingual/cultural nation.

      If two languages are good for America, why not three? four? twenty?

      It helps to look at the limits on each end.

      America where everybody speaks English is obviously America.
      Is America still America where everybody’s native tongue is Spanish?
      Of course not, that would be Mexico.
      Now drop the numbers down to 1/4 English to 3/4 Spanish, will this still be America? No. Reverse that to 3/4 English and 1/4 Spanish and you still have problems.

      To reiterate, Language, Borders and Culture matter. The fact that politicians are searching for votes among a foreign culture using a foreign language within our borders is a problem that needs addressing now and reversing now.

      If it is not addressed and reveresed then historically two disparate nations living under the same government does not end well.

A great example why English needs to be made THE official language of this country. Rubio should have done the interview in English and let Univision provide a Spanish translation.

Henry Hawkins | April 19, 2015 at 8:26 pm

I’d like to know why the Spanish interview addressed DACA and immigration reform, while the English version did not.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Henry Hawkins. | April 19, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    Rubio likes to talk out of both sides of his mouth, while eating a banana sideways, and whistling Dixie all at the same time. Never forget that he’s Jeb’s boy, and Jeb is controlled by his wife who shaped his position on Mexican illegal aliens (gifts of love). Rubio is in the race to serve as a counterweight to Ted Cruz, the real Conservative in the race, who has regard to American law.

    The Rubio camp’s failure to present his comments on DACA in English signify that there was no “mistranslation”.

I just want to quickly point out that I don’t think the United States has a long history of legislative policy legislating that any benefit not provided by Congress, but existing solely by executive branch fiat, must be honored for an indefinite duration by all future laws passed by Congress. I knew that entitlements were really hard to repeal once passed, but I didn’t know they’re considered, as a matter of course, really hard to repeal even if Congress never passed them at all.

That confuses me.

    DINORightMarie in reply to Dantes. | April 20, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Glad you included this – it is a refutation of the “bad translation” or “mistranslation” nonsense.

    Rubio’s team and amnesty-supporting establishment and crony types LIKE what he says, so they are running defense for him.

    Breitbart is a legit news outlet. Boyle is a solid journalist and reporter. This refutation you linked to clearly shows he didn’t lie, didn’t report falsehoods, didn’t “take things out of context.”

    As Boyle says, more to come……..

    People need to wake up to Rubio. His Gang of 8 amnesty stance hasn’t changed. He is just SAYING SO to try to get nominated, then elected.

    If Rubio is the nominee, and manages to become POTUS, amnesty is a DONE DEAL. Don’t doubt it.

    He should have run again for Senate. It’s doubtful he can manage to get the grassroots to come out for him. Big crony money aside, the people who are paying attention don’t trust him.

Sammy Finkelman | April 19, 2015 at 9:36 pm


But DACA, I think it is important; it can’t be cancelled suddenly because there are already people who are benefitting from it.

Kemberlee Kaye:

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.

Except for one thing: This was enacted by legislation, and it is the contention of many people that it is illegal, and thus null and void.

And as for:

But it is going to have to end.
It cannot be the permanent policy of the United States.

That’s Obama’s position too, as well, because it has a cutoff date. It only applies to people wo arrived in the United States before a certain date.

The biggest concern among Hispanics is if any of those people currently benefitting from this will lose their benefits if a Republican is elected.

Marco Rubio says no, every single person amnestied by Obama, will not have it reversed by him. Or does he say that?

Sammy Finkelman | April 19, 2015 at 9:39 pm

And just why can this not be the permanent policy of the United States?

    DINORightMarie in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | April 20, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Quick answer: because, as you said, it’s not legislation – passed by Congress, signed into law by the POTUS, and then tested in the courts for Constitutionality. 🙂

      Sammy Finkelman in reply to DINORightMarie. | April 22, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      I think what Marco Rubio was saying was that you couldn’t have a permanent policy of amnesty even as a result of legislation.

      But why not? That’s exactly what the policy is for Cubans.

I congratulate Sen Rubio for taking a half-step towards the correct approach to real Republican comprehensive immigration reform by recently stating “…the influx of undocumented workers must be stopped first so that this will never happen again. But, sadly, he is still way off base, as are all the other declared and undeclared Republican 2016 presidential candidates, when he states: “And it begins with serious enforcement measures.”

Real Republican comprehensive immigration reform must start with the recognition, gained through direct experience since the 1986 Reagan amnesty, we cannot count on there being any real political will in Congress to enforce any statutes designed to “Beef Up Border Security First”, “Limit Illegal Immigration”, implement E-Verify, or to carry out any significant “Deportations”. Grassroot Republicans fell for this ruse back in 1986. This cannot be allowed to happen again.

If the first responsible Republican comprehensive immigration reform goal is to stop the illegal immigration-magnet, removing the present economic incentives for those who would cross our borders illegally is essential before our borders can ever be secure. To this end, Sen Rubio should support Sen Vitter’s Birthright Senate referendum bill that will prevent the offspring of illegal aliens born here from obtaining birthright citizenship if he is now to be taken seriously when it comes the real comprehensive immigration reform. Unless Sen Rubio, and all the other Republican 2016 presidential candidates, are willing to support the removal of birthright citizenship for those born here of illegal aliens, he is, and they are, still only talking to talk without walking the walk on true Republican comprehensive immigration reform.

casualobserver | April 19, 2015 at 10:09 pm

I started checking on today’s news through this site and other as well as my social media feeds.

I cannot believe how much energy has gone into the typing, whether articles or tweets or Facebook posts or comments, etc. Not that it isn’t an important issue, just that so much time is being spent on translations and meaning. Why not just ask Rubio’s camp to PUT IT IN PLAIN LANGUAGE, or something.

Matt Boyle is a hack, totally unreliable. He’s either stunningly incompetent and stupid or an outright liar.

I don’t speak Spanish, so I don’t know about the translation issue (I do respect Rumpf & Darby, though). But I know Boyle’s work, and it is generally shameful.

    Breitbart would be embarrassed at some of the people who blog under his name, both the likes of Matt Boyle at the eponymous “Breitbart News”, and the likes of the racist conspiratorial nuts in the “Conservative Treehouse” who use his visage and the admonition “I Want You To Be Andrew Breitbart” as their header.

      betty in reply to Amy in FL. | April 20, 2015 at 10:18 am

      Amy, I read your comment earlier and didn’t have time to respond, but I had to come back to say your comment abouts the Conservative Tree House (CTH) is way off base.

      It is their exhaustive research and allegiance to the truth that gave us the truth behind the “hands up, don’t shoot !” BGI lie. And a they connected Jesse Matthew to Hannah Graham, Morgan Harrington and Cassandra Morton’s abductions and murders. It was a conspiracy of PC that no official announcement alerted young women of a Black serial predator – and the CTH who connected the dots and alerted everyone. They did outstanding work on finding and sharing the truth about Travon Martin and George Zimmerman. I could go on and on.

      I urge anyone even tempted to give any credit to Amy’s slur to go and read in the CTH archives.

      MarlaHughes in reply to Amy in FL. | April 21, 2015 at 7:54 am

      I’m going to agree with Amy. ConservativeTreeHouse has been my complete source on related issues since the Zimmerman fiasco. They not only analyze videos, photos and news articles but actually do offline investigative work of a professional quality and do it all for free.
      Furthermore, I haven’t seen them allow any racism at ALL on their boards. They ARE ‘prejudiced’ against the Social Justice Warriors who are using black people for their agenda.

      Sammy Finkelman in reply to Amy in FL. | April 22, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      But they did seem to be going wrong at CTH on the shooting of Walter Scott, however good they were on some other incidents, and maybe they were’t 100% right there either..

      By the way, there was a long article in the New York Times about how Walter Scott (and others) seem to be trapped by the child support laws.

      It seems like there’s a federal law United States Supreme Court ruling that prohibits a person being put in jail for not paying child support if he cannot pay, but this must be argued in court, and if someone does not have a lawyer these restrictions aren’t paid much attention to.

      Also, because they are wary of assets being hidden, or somebody deliberatly not working, at least on the books, the amount of child support is tied to how much money a person could make, not what he actually does make, and this does not take account of any periods of unemployment, and that’s a common error. Walter Scott worked in construction, where employment ifs often spotty. He’d also lose his job every time he got temporarily jailed.

      One time (July 2012) he got caught up by his parents paying some $3,000 to $4,000 but he had given up hope, and a judgement of $8,000 had grown to $18,000 by the time he wss killed.

      The fact that the custodial parent doesn’t owe anything even if he or she has no money is one reason a lot of men seek custody.

      The whole thing is ridiculous, very non-21st century.

      Just have the money paid by the federal government, and treated as loan, with eventual Social Security payments as collateral, if nothing else works.

      A person could also be given the option of a credit card loan, or a loan, up to a certain amount, against his income tax refunds.

      Still, there was something peculiar about that car. Maybe he was keeping his name off the registration.

    DINORightMarie in reply to Estragon. | April 20, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Really? Examples? Links?

TotallyPeeved | April 20, 2015 at 12:52 am


I haven’t seen *this* much COVERING, APOLOGIA-MAKING, and all-around hand-wringing since a Democrat said something dangerously stupid.

Does it make *that* much difference to what the word ‘important’ was referring, since Rubio is FUNDAMENTALLY PRO-ILLEGAL anyway?!

Check out his Florida in-State record if you have any doubts.

[THE] CONFUSION [IS] OVER: Rubio Team Confirms Both Translations of His Spanish Language Interview With Jorge Ramos [Are] Accurate

The chief spokesman for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Alex Conant, confirmed to Breitbart News in an on-record interview on Sunday that despite some initial confusion over the past couple days about the wording of two separate English language transcripts of Rubio’s Spanish language interview with Univision’s Jorge Ramos that aired this weekend, the thrust and meaning of what Rubio said was captured accurately by both transcripts—each of which shows just minor differences in wording, but not in meaning.

Holy mackerel! Stop defending and running cover for wispy-lispy RINO Rubio, Kemberlee Kaye and LI. RINO Rubio’s not the only ‘Republican’ candidate running/going-to-run for POTUS, but he is most definitely the most Establishment Status-Quo candidate officially running thus far.

In fact, sit back and watch how RINO Rubio patches things up and becomes just the best of buds with Jeb Bush, absolutely the preordained GOP nominee, and then RINO Rubio runs on Jeb Bush’s ticket as Vice-President by the time we go to the polls NOV 2016. I’d bet the farm that is and has been the primary goal all along, and if our predominantly vapid electorate continues to fall for these contrived and scripted performances and feats of colossal flim-flam, we as a country will never ever recover from this ongoing attack on America from within, and America is permanently diminished and indefinitely run by despots until the certainly coming day of final judgement arrives.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to FlatFoot. | April 22, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Rubio can’t run as Jeb Bush’s Vice President – they are noth from Florida, and electors can’t vote for a candiidate for president and vice president who are both from their own state and Florida has 29 Electoral votes, and neotehr of them is going to switch states.

    (In the year 2000, Richard Cheney, who has moved to Texas, re-registered to vote at his summer home in Wyoming.)

Henry Hawkins | April 20, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Till today I’d never heard of Matt Boyle, Sara Rumpf, or Brandon Darby. I never heard of Marco Rubio till five years ago. Rubio is not above lying to achieve political goals, that much is certain.

So, a group of strangers are telling me yes, no, maybe about a guy who is yes, no, maybe, and in the big picture I haven’t a clue as to whom to believe, nor am I willing to dive into hours of research to find still more total strangers endorsing or trashing the former strangers.

I have zero doubt so far about what Ted Cruz or Scott Walker are saying.

    Not only is it ‘yes,no,maybe’ in English, but in Spanish.

    So you are dealing not only with the confusion wraught by lies and spin, but by language barriers.

    Now, throw in liars, and spin-meisters on BOTH sides of the language divide and try to divine the truth.

    I don’t want this crap. I did not vote for this crap. I like my English speaking country and I want it to remain English speaking and I don’t want to have to deal with a foreign nation on our soil.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to gettimothy. | April 20, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      It does not bode well for our society that almost all media and government are on the wrong end of the truthfulness scale. It’s getting harder and harder to get the straight skinny without being a professional researcher.

      It seems everything everywhere is spun.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Henry Hawkins. | April 22, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Ted Cruz and Scott Walker are not being asked too many detailed questions, and when Scott Walker was, on immigration, he got into trouble.

    Marco Rubio was actually pretty clear here, except for implying that he would not continue President Obama’s amnesty policy. There’s nothing to continue. It has cut off dates. Both of Obama’s actions are one-time things.

    Rubio might stop taking new applications, for people eligible who hadn’t taken advantage of it by January, 2017, or even halt processing of some of them, but everything Obama did would stand, and there are a limited number of people eligible.

“Bad translation misrepresents Rubio’s immigration comments”

Looks to me as though the translation is precise.

What looks incorrect is calling it a “bad translation”.