Cruz goes to Rubio home turf to prove immigration cred

14 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Echoing Trump, Cruz Releases Sweeping Plan to Crack Down on Immigration.

Drama over immigration could return to the Senate floor next week, as two Republican senators and presidential hopefuls ratchet up their battle over an issue that has sharply divided the GOP field.In a sweeping new policy blueprint unveiled Friday, Senator Ted Cruz attacked legal and illegal immigration from all angles, proposing to build a wall on the U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has told top Democrats that he may tee up a vote next week on “Kate’s Law,” according to Democratic aides.

Ted Cruz said Friday that he “laughed out loud” after learning how fellow senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio compared their records on immigration Thursday. The blueprint mirrored key ideas in rival Donald Trump’s immigration plan, such as a border wall, reducing legal immigration, and ending birthright citizenship. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), tries to crack down on illegal immigration by leveling tough mandatory minimum penalties on immigrants who repeatedly enter the United States illegally. Ted Cruz (Texas) take part in the presidential debates at the Reagan Library Sept. 16. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Cruz said Rubio “suggested that my record was exactly like his on immigration.” And while Cruz noted he and the Florida senator are friends, he said such a claim is “truly stunning” and “laughingly, blazingly, on-its-face false”: Marco had a fairly remarkable comment in that he suggested that my record was exactly like his on immigration, and I have to admit I laughed out loud at that.

Legal immigration is a fundamental pillar of our nation’s heritage, and I was pleased today to offer legislation that would have improved and expanded legal immigration by dramatically increasing the cap for high-tech temporary worker visas. A McConnell spokesman said no legislation has been scheduled yet, but noted that the majority leader has previously indicated that “Kate’s Law” — which would create a five-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for immigrants here illegally who try to re-enter the country after being deported — would come up at some point. The legislation is named in honor of Kate Steinle, a San Francisco woman who, authorities say, was shot and killed in July by a Mexican immigrant with a lengthy felony rap sheet who repeatedly entered the country illegally.

There is currently a serious shortage of workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, yet every year we send thousands of high-tech graduate students back to their home countries to start businesses and create jobs. Steinle’s death prompted a national uproar over so-called sanctuary cities, where local officials decline to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, because San Francisco authorities decided not to notify immigration officials when the suspect, Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, was being released from a local jail. In an effort to “better serve American workers,” the Texan calls for suspending H-1B skilled guest worker visas for 180 days to investigate reports of “appalling abuses” within the program. He proposes to “halt any increases in legal immigration” as long as workforce participation rates are “below historical averages.” Echoing Trump, Cruz said legal immigration must “benefit our nation rather than undermining our nation” by “taking away” jobs from Americans. But Senate Democrats are sure to filibuster any attempt from Republicans to advance Kate’s Law, as they did last month on a broader package that targeted sanctuary cities. “It is sad that the Democratic leader chooses to stand with violent criminal illegal aliens instead of the American citizens,” Cruz said last week as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) blocked the Texas Republicans’ attempt to bring up and pass Kate’s Law.

According to NBC News, Rubio said Thursday that when the 2013 Senate immigration reform bill was being negotiated Cruz “proposed legalizing people that were here illegally. It would also triple the number of Border Patrol agents, raise surveillance and tracking of the Southern border, require E-Verify and use a biometric entry-exit tracking system to keep track of immigrants. In fact, at the time Cruz was implicitly criticizing Walker: “There is overwhelming bipartisan agreement that we’ve got to get serious about securing the borders and stopping illegal immigration. There is considerable bipartisan agreement outside of Washington that we need to improve and streamline legal immigration so that we can remain a nation that welcomes and celebrates legal immigrants.” He continued: “I am the son of an immigrant who came legally from Cuba.

The Texan would also swiftly undo President Barack Obama’s executive actions to shield certain undocumented people from deportation—including the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the 2014 Deferred Action for Parents of Americans programs, his campaign said. Cruz’s blueprint criticized those programs for “rewarding illegality.” He also said some Republican presidential candidates won’t say whether they’d end Obama’s executive initiatives on immigration, accusing them of answering one way in English and another in Spanish-language TV.

It’s interesting that a guy known for having his finger on the pulse of grassroots conservative/tea party sentiment isn’t following Walker’s lead but rather stressing his own relative moderation on the issue. There are obvious political reasons for that — he’s addressing the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce here, and as one of the few GOP candidates who opposes a path to citizenship, he needs a way to show general-election voters that he’s no [Tom] Tancredo when it comes to immigration.

Cruz spends most of his answers accusing Democrats of being the main obstacle to reform because of their fanatic, self-interested insistence on citizenship for illegals, a criticism that’s valid but also ironic given that Cruz himself continues to support some kind of legal status for illegals and surely knows that that will lead to demands for citizenship eventually. Make no mistake, this is a dramatic and complete reversal for Cruz: In defending the H-1B increase, Cruz cited a study by the American Enterprise Institute that claimed 183 jobs for U.S. nationals are created for every 100 H-1B workers employed on American soil. But isn’t that the sort of stunt he is always accusing the “Republican cartel” of performing — refusing to level with voters and stick to principles?

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