Sen. Rubio heckled after visit to detention center (until reporters ask hecklers to stop)

Sen. Marco Rubio visited a detention center for immigrant children Friday. Afterwards, he gave a press conference which was interrupted repeatedly by hecklers. From the Hill:

Demonstrators heckled Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), calling him an “opportunist” during a protest outside a federal detention facility for migrant children in South Florida on Friday.

Rubio was met by protestors while speaking to reporters near the contractor-run Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children. Rubio said that he understood why people make the dangerous journey to the U.S., only for hecklers to respond, “No you don’t.”

CBS Miami shot video of the press conference which shows Rubio trying to answer questions from the media and being interrupted by two hecklers, one man and one woman. The hecklers did make a lot of noise but didn’t actually prevent Rubio from making his point.

“There has emerged an entire industry of traffickers and coyotes and people who do horrible things because a perception has been created that if you cross our border unlawfully you will have the opportunity to stay,” Rubio said. He continued, “There is no doubt, 100 percent confidence that that is, at a minimum, an incentive to drive what is a very dangerous and terrible journey. I understand why people do it, they’re desperate and they want a better life.”

That last line was interrupted by shouting. A moment later Rubio was answering a question about housing families together and the hecklers started up again. But this time one of the reporters interjected, “Dude, can you just let him finish this for a second?” When the heckler kept repeating “families belong free” the reporter replied, “Got it, okay, got it.” Someone else added, “We’ll talk to you after, sir.”

There was only one more interruption after that. Rubio paused and then continued his statement.

Earlier in the week, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Sen. Bill Nelson were turned away from the same shelter. Wasserman Schultz claimed the shelter was participating in a “cover-up”:

In response to the media coverage of that incident, the shelter agreed to open to media and lawmakers once today and once tomorrow. Wasserman-Schultz is scheduled to return tomorrow. Here’s a portion of the interview which includes a few of the interruptions.

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