Confronted at Airport, Carlos Curbelo Says He Supports Detaining Asylum SeekersEXPAND
Dan Royles

Confronted at Airport, Carlos Curbelo Says He Supports Detaining Asylum Seekers

Here's yet another reason why it's definitely cool to confront politicians when they're off the clock: You just might get someone to speak their mind about controversial issues.

Take, for instance, Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo. A pair of activists noticed Curbelo was on their flight on the way back to Miami International Airport from Philadelphia last Saturday and published a Facebook Live stream while they chased down the Republican congressman and asked him all sorts of important questions about immigration policy in 2018.

In response, Curbelo said some pretty upsetting stuff, including he believes that asylum seekers (who are seeking to immigrate legally) deserve to be detained in prison facilities while they await a court date. He also refused to stop taking donations from private-prison contractors such as Boca Raton's GEO Group because "we need companies to run the detention centers."

"I am not in favor of allowing anyone who shows up with a child at the border to be released," Curbelo said on-camera. "I'm not in favor."

"But why?" one person filming asks.

Before Curbelo responds, someone notices one of the travelers' friends is recording and asks if he would "mind stopping recording please."

"No," the person filming responds.

"You can't just invite everyone to come," Curbelo continues.

Here's the full clip:

Curbelo, a self-described "moderate" Republican, had been in the news for much of the past month after he helped push forward a "compromise" immigration bill that provided a weak path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers while simultaneously strictly cutting back multiple forms of legal immigration, including family-reunification visas and legal asylum. President Donald Trump almost immediately promised to veto the measure, calling it too weak (in classic Trump fashion, he eventually backtracked before backtracking on backtracking), but the bill failed in the U.S. House yesterday anyway. Curbelo is facing a tough reelection fight in 2018 in a district that overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Earlier today, Politico Florida whacked Curbelo for running a political-action committee dedicated to moderate "immigration reform" — but the PAC donates to tons of hard-line immigration hawks who don't agree with Curbelo's "moderate" proposals at all.

One of the men involved in the recording, Miamian Daniel Royles, said he initially spotted Curbelo at Philadelphia International Airport before boarding the flight and asked a few quick questions. Unsatisfied, Royles went back after the plane landed and asked Curbelo to (A) commit to voting against any bill that increases the time children spend in detention, (B) promise not to take any money from private-prison contractors, and (C) explain why he thinks it's OK for contractors to make money from imprisoning people. Royles told New Times today he was not happy with Curbelo's answers.

"I'm not technically his constituent, but I work inside his district," Royles said. "I think it's regrettable when a representative like him is so inaccessible. He hasn’t had a town hall since 2016 at least; he sometimes blocks constituents on Twitter. At one point, I commented on one of his videos explaining his ACA vote and had my Facebook comments deleted." He added he thinks the congressman's answers were "terrible."

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