The bizarre irony of a person born in Canada to a Cuban dad and an American mom continues to be on display as Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz was interviewed by The Dallas Morning News on Sunday. Unlike fellow GOP Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, Cruz is steadfast on not having any immigration reform bill include a path to citizenship. This is coming from the guy who was born in Canada.
Q. Immigration and path to citizenship – where are you on that and did Sen. Paul’s speech the other day change your views on that?
A. There is wide bipartisan agreement on many aspects of immigration reform. There is bipartisan agreement that we need to finally get serious about securing the borders, that it doesn’t make sense in a post 9/11 world that we don’t know the criminal history and the background of those coming into this country, and that we need to increase the manpower and resources on the border to finally solve the problem. I also think there is widespread agreement that we need to improve and streamline legal immigration. I am an enthusiastic champion of legal immigration. Indeed I’m the son of an immigrant. And right now those who come into this country legally face years of lines and mounds of bureaucratic paperwork and red tape. There is bipartisan agreement that we should streamline that process, make it less burdensome. And in particular work to make it easier for high skilled immigrants to come to this country. Every year we educate thousands of graduate students and PhDs in math and computer science and engineering, and then our broken immigration system sends them back to their home countries to start businesses there. To create jobs there, because we don’t allow them to remain here and create jobs in America.
If you had an immigration reform bill that addressed those two areas – that increased the resources, increased the tools for securing the border, and that improved and streamlined legal immigration and increased the number of high-skilled immigrants who can come in – a bill along those lines, if it came to a vote, would receive overwhelming bipartisan support. That’s why I’m optimistic.
The reason I’m pessimistic is I do believe President Obama wants to pass an immigration bill. His behavior concerning immigration leads me to believe that what he wants is a political issue rather than actually to pass a bill. What he wants is for the bill to crater, so that he can use the issue as a political wedge in 2014 and 2016. That is why I believe the president is insisting on a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally. Because by insisting on that, he ensures that any immigration reform bill will be voted down in the House.
Q. Would you vote against anything that has path to citizenship?
A. I have deep, deep concerns about a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally. I think creating a path to citizenship is No. 1 inconsistent with the rule of law. But No. 2 it is profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who have waited years and sometimes decades in line to come here legally. And as a practical matter, if you want to see common sense immigration reform pass, insisting on a path to citizenship is the surest way to kill the bill. Today I think the greatest obstacle to passing common sense immigration reform is President Barack Obama.