As news that Marco Rubio may be a serious contender for Mitt Romney's GOP running mate emerged Tuesday, so too did a pair of books detailing Rubio’s life.
A unauthorized biography, "The Rise of Marco Rubio," examines the life of what the book describes as a sometimes thin-skinned but preternaturally charming politician with impeccable instincts and a penchant for hip-hop music. The book's major revelations -– that Rubio’s grandfather lived for a time in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant and that Rubio himself has been less than honest, if not ill-informed, about the timing and reasons for his parents' move to the U.S. -– were made public long before the book went on sale. But the book includes other findings that suggest Rubio is capable of shifting his political values and positions.
At the same time, Rubio's autobiography, "An American Son: A Memoir," was released. Rubio reveals that if he lived in an economically deprived country today, he may consider immigrating to the U.S. illegally to provide for his family.
Publication of the books come one day after Rubio, in an ABC News interview, accused President Barack Obama of stoking social divisions for political gain.
He is deliberately divid[ing] Americans against each other for purposes of political gain. ... If you look at this White House they never pass up an opportunity to pit one group of Americans against another for purposes of improving his electoral chances.
Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia, who wrote the biography, unearthed evidence of Rubio’s religious commute between Mormon, Catholic and Protestant churches and his early support for targeted immigration policy reforms. While a state representative, Rubio sponsored a failed bill that offered in-state tuition to young undocumented immigrants and a second that, had it passed, would have barred farmers from forcing their mostly undocumented immigrant workers to pay for their own equipment and transportation.
Rubio, who served as Florida House speaker from 2007 to 2009, blocked bills that would have created immigration enforcement policies, lest they feed anti-immigrant sentiment, according to the biography. A year after leaving the House and announcing plans to run for a U.S. Senate seat, Rubio endorsed an Arizona bill that requires police officers to ask people to prove citizenship and to detain those who can't. The Supreme Court is set to rule on the constitutionality of the Arizona law this summer.
Throughout his career, Rubio made his parents' immigration story, or the version he now says he believed is true, a central theme of his speeches and a frequent explanation for his policy positions. Rubio has repeatedly described himself as the son of Cuban exiles who struggled to build a new life in America after being forced to flee the communist regime. Rubio has gone so far as to say that political exiles are far different that economic migrants.
Roig-Franzia's book tells of a less evocative immigrant experience. Rubio’s family arrived before the Cuban revolution, seeking economic opportunities, according to public records. And in Rubio’s family, those who arrived first assisted others in obtaining legal permission to enter the country –- a phenomenon that Rubio often refers to today as, "chain migration." The senator cites chain migration as his primary reason for opposing immigration reform measures supported by Democrats.
Although Rubio has explained the differences between his version of the extended Rubio family’s migration story and that found in public records as ordinary failure to closely examine family lore, Roig-Franzia provides examples of early interviews in which Rubio indicated that he was aware that his parents arrived in Miami several years before the Cuban revolution.
Connecting to the Cuban political exile experience helped Rubio win support and votes needed early in his career, Roig-Franzia contends. Now that Rubio is operating on a national stage -– one in which Cubans make up just 3 percent of the Latino electorate and Mexican-Americans and their descendants are nearly 70 percent of that group -- it may also be helpful for Rubio to connect to the economic migrant story, according to the biography.
Susana Martinez was the first U.S. Latina governor when she was elected governor of New Mexico in 2010. She is a Republican and the first woman to be the state's governor. Martinez, of Mexican descent, was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. She was district attorney for the Third Judicial District in Doña Ana County in Southern New Mexico, a position she held for 14 years. Controversy has followed Martinez. First, it erupted when she claimed that her <a href="http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2011/09/09/new-mexico-gov-susana-martinez-confirms-that-grandparents-were-undocumented/" target="_hplink">grandparents first came into the country illegally. </a> She later clarified her family's past stating that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/14/susana-martinez-new-mexico-governor-clarifies-immigrant-past_n_1093443.html" target="_hplink">her grandparents followed common practices in coming to the U.S. from Mexico in the early 1900s. </a> The second controversy came with <a href="http://hispanic.cc/new_mexico_republican_governor_martinez_attacks_law_allowing_undocumented_to_obtain_drivers_licenses.htm" target="_hplink">her proposal to revoke a New Mexico state law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.</a>
Marco Rubio was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 to represent Florida. He was born in Miami and is the son of Cuban immigrants. Rubio was accused of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/25/will-marco-rubio-lie-matter-as-much-as-politics_n_1031147.html" target="_hplink">embellishing crucial details about his parents' emigration from Cuba. </a> News has been circulating of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-schneider/psssst-marco-rubio-will-b_b_940308.html" target="_hplink">a possible Republican nomination for vice president</a> in the 2012 election. Rubio told the GOP to tone down its hard-edged stance on immigration. <a href="http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2011/11/15/rubio-tells-gop-to-ease-up-on-immigration/#ixzz1doct52kh" target="_hplink">According to Fox News Latino,</a> Rubio said, "The Republican Party should not be labeled as the anti-illegal immigration party. Republicans need to be the pro-legal immigration party."
Brian Sandoval was appointed U.S. district judge for Nevada by President George W. Bush in October 2005, becoming the state's first Hispanic federal judge. Sandoval is an American citizen of Mexican descent. He is currently Nevada governor. Earlier this year, Sandoval said <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/13/brian-sandoval-endorses-rick-perry_n_961090.html" target="_hplink">he was backing Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential bid</a>.
Texas Republican Ted Cruz is the first Hispanic to hold the post of Solicitor General for the state of Texas. He won a runoff election against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in July 2012, and is now the GOP candidate for the Senate seat vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat, has served since 1993 as representative for Illinois's 4th Congressional District. Gutierrez was born in Chicago and his parents are from Puerto Rico. He has been at forefront of every single immigration reform and immigrant rights defense struggle since 1993, <a href="http://lavoz-prcc.org/2009/04/congressman-luis-v-gutierrez-the-mastery-of-the-politics-of-making-the-impossible-possible/" target="_hplink">according to La Voz del Paseo Boricua. </a> Gutierrez has been outspoken against current deportation laws. In July, he and 10 other immigration reform supporters were arrested in front of the White House for protesting against the Obama administration's deportation of young people and families, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/26/luis-gutierrez-arrested-f_n_910348.html" target="_hplink">according to HuffPost. </a> He was arrested in mid-1990s for protesting the U.S. Navy's bombing of Vieques, Puerto Rico, and in 2010 for protesting against the Obama administration's deportation record.
Luis Fortuño is the governor of Puerto Rico and president of the New Progressive Party, the political party seeking U.S. statehood for the island. In 2012, Fortuño has been an active campaigner for Mitt Romney, even being listed as a potential Vice President candidate on the GOP ticket.
Bill Richardson served as governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2010. He also served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and as energy secretary in the Clinton administration. Richardson was born in California to an American father and a Mexican mother. Even after ending his term in 2010, Richardson remains an active political figure. In September 2011, Richardson visited Cuba to negotiate the release of Alan Gross, imprisoned in Cuba since 2009 after bringing communications equipment into the island. Richardson came back emptyhanded, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/28/wife-man-imprisoned-in-cuba_n_1117742.html" target="_hplink">according to HuffPost. </a>
Alex Padilla is a Democratic senator representing California. He is the first Latino and youngest-ever president of the League of California Cities, <a href="http://powerwall.msnbc.msn.com/politics/10-latino-politicians-to-watch-9701.gallery?#!wallState=0__%2Fpolitics%2F10-latino-politicians-to-watch-9701.gallery?photoId%3D38975" target="_hplink">according to PowerWall at MSNBC.</a> He is a Los Angeles native and son of Mexican immigrants. Padilla introduced a bill in the Senate that authorized $104 million in tax breaks to help "green" companies in California when buying equipment. The bill also aimed to add jobs.
Ken Salazar and John Salazar
John and Ken Salazar, both Democrats, have identified themselves as Mexican-American brothers. Ken Salazar is the U.S. secretary of the interio. John Salazar was congressman for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, serving from 2005 until 2011.
Gloria Molina is a Los Angeles County supervisor. Molina was born in California to Mexican parents. She was elected to represent the First District in 1991 -- the first Latina to do so. She quickly developed a reputation as a fiscal guardian committed to achieving good government reforms, maintaining the county's public health care system, and addressing quality of life issues -- particularly for the 1 million residents in unincorporated areas, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gloria-molina" target="_hplink">according to HuffPost.</a> After LA County jail abuse incidents, Molina made several recommendations including <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/18/la-county-jail-abuse-boar_n_1018683.html" target="_hplink">asking to install cameras in the jails, barring deputies from striking inmates' heads, and banning the heavy flashlights deputies carry that can be used as batons.</a>
Julian Castro is the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. First elected May 9, 2009, Castro won re-election in 2011 with nearly 82 percent of the vote. "Julián Castro is the son of Rosie Castro, a well-known '70s firebrand who was among the leaders of La Raza Unida, the radical movement in Texas that was dedicated to defending the civil rights of Mexican-Americans and promoting a strong "Chicano" identity", according to <em>The New York Times</em>. "Julin really stands out," said Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, an associate professor of Chicano and global studies at UCLA,<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/09/magazine/09Mayor-t.html?pagewanted=all" target="_hplink"> to <em>The New York Times</em>.</a> "There are other talented young Hispanic politicians around, but few have his stature or national potential. He's from San Antonio, but he's very much admired in California. He's like Obama -- one of us, but someone who also comes out of a broader American experience."