Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions Turn Sour on Bipartisan Immigration Reform Framework

Jan 28, 2013
7:46 PM

Any predictions from certain Mexican American columnists that rhyme with Venderrette saying that Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) would have a more open mind to the latest bipartisan immigration reform framework announced today were put to rest when Cruz issued the following statement:


I appreciate the good work that senators in both parties have put into trying to fix our broken immigration system. There are some good elements in this proposal, especially increasing the resources and manpower to secure our border and also improving and streamlining legal immigration. However, I have deep concerns with the proposed path to citizenship. To allow those who came here illegally to be placed on such a path is both inconsistent with rule of law and profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who waited years, if not decades, to come to America legally.

Looks like Cruz didn’t get the memo from fellow Cuban-American Senators Marco Rubio (R) and Bob Menendez (D), two of the senators who helped to develop the framework, which included an earned path to citizenship. There was speculation that Cruz would soften his hard-line immigration stance after the November elections, and one of his most ardent supporters, CNN contributor and nationally syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, Jr., was basically banking on it when he pumped up Cruz last week with the senator’s “personal” story of his family leaving Castro’s Cuba.

This is what Navarrette shared about Cruz:

“We need to remain a nation that doesn’t just welcome but that celebrates legal immigrants who come here seeking to pursue the American dream,” he said. “All across the state of Texas, I have told my father’s story thousands of times. My dad has been my hero my entire life. But what I find most extraordinary about his story is how commonplace it is. Every one of us – whether it’s us, or our parents, or our grandparents or our great-grandparents – we all are the children of those who fled oppression seeking freedom. I think that’s the most fundamental DNA of what it means to be an American – to value freedom and opportunity above everything else.”

For Cruz, step one is “securing the border,” but he thinks that both parties are too busy trying to demagogue the issue to get even this done. Still, he seems to understand the curious paradox of America – a country of immigrants that, truth be told, has often been hostile to newer immigrants.

“Resistance to immigrants is not a new phenomenon,” Cruz said. “It’s been present in the United States, and present everywhere, really, for centuries. You go back 100 years, and go to New York City, and you’d see signs in restaurants that said: ‘No Irish and No Dogs.’ Then you had a big immigration wave from Ireland, and there was the same sense of fear that we sometimes see manifested here.”

Is this the same Cruz who issued the statement tonight from Washington? Did Navarrette talk to another Cruz?

Well, at least Cruz’s immigration stance fake-out doesn’t match Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R), who also issued a statement today that basically goes against Cruz’s flowery quotes about anti-immigrant sentiment and brings up the ugly “A” word (amnesty). Also, Sessions’ statement doesn’t take into account actual facts about record deportations under the Obama administration and an ICE agency that is well-funded and clearly acting like a rogue law enforcement agency. But, hey, what’s facts when you just want to scare the hell out of your constituents. Here is Sessions’ statement:


Americans overwhelmingly oppose illegal immigration. They have pleaded with Congress to end the mass illegality for decades to little avail. All the while, millions have been added to the total of those illegally here.

It’s time to fix that broken system. Now we are told that the Obama Administration and members of Congress say they have a plan that they promise will do the job. So, the American people will need to watch closely. And, members of Congress must insist that they have a full and complete opportunity to study and amend such legislation.

We would be in a much better position to achieve immigration reform if the Obama Administration had spent that last four years enforcing federal law rather than dismantling it. Brave immigration agents have been left with no recourse but to sue their own Department head, simply so that they—like any other law officers—will be allowed to do their jobs. Just last Friday a federal judge made an important preliminary ruling in their favor. The ICE union also held their own agency head, John Morton, in no confidence with a unanimous vote. The first task for every media agency in the country ought to be to study this lawsuit, to listen to the long-documented complaints of ICE agents, and to review the record of stymied attempts at congressional oversight of DHS.

No comprehensive plan can pass Congress as long as this administration continues to defy existing federal law. What good are promises of future enforcement when the Administration covertly undermines those laws now in place?

Yet, without consulting the law officers who have the duty to enforce the law, another group of senators, meeting in secret—just like the last time comprehensive reform failed—have set forth an outline with no legislative language. We have seen too often before that the promises made by bill sponsors do not match up to the reality when the language is produced. No secret accord with profound consequences for this nation’s future can be rushed through. That means a full committee process and debate and amendments on the floor of the Senate.

Several points need to be understood. Amnesty will not help balance our budget. In fact, a large-scale amnesty is likely to add trillions of dollars to the debt over time, accelerate Medicare’s and Social Security’s slide into insolvency, and put enormous strain on our public assistance programs. We know already that the administration refuses to enforce existing law restricting immigrant welfare use, and in fact promotes expanded welfare use to immigrants—including food stamps, public housing, and Medicaid. I joined with four Ranking Members to obtain answers from the Department of Homeland Security about this evisceration of law, and the Administration has suspiciously defied three consecutive oversight requests.

These and other critical issues must be carefully considered as we go forward. Certainly, our current system is broken. Work must be done to fix it. That effort must occur.

All Americans, immigrant and native-born, will have a better future if American continues to stand unique among nations for the special reverence it places in the rule of law.

Looks like Cruz and Sessions will be on the same team. That’s going to be awkward.