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Thread: On Immigration, Cruz Aims for Middle Ground

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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    On Immigration, Cruz Aims for Middle Ground

    On Immigration, Cruz Aims for Middle Ground

    by Julián Aguilar and Jay Root Sept. 13, 2013

    U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz holding a press conference at the Anzalduas International Bridge in Mission surrounded by a group of local ranchers who said they've been affected by poor border security.

    When it comes to immigration reform, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has made it abundantly clear what he opposes: giving citizenship to people who broke the law to come here.

    What has not been as evident is what he supports: legal status for millions of people here already, while making it easier for immigrants to come here through the front door.

    “I have said many times that I want to see common-sense immigration reform pass,” he said. “I think most Americans want to see the problem fixed.”

    But for Cruz, a Tea Party favorite who represents a state with rapidly changing demographics, finding common ground will not be easy. Many of the bedrock Tea Party supporters who helped elect him are immigration hard-liners who object to even the slightest nod toward amnesty, a loaded word that generally means providing an avenue for legal residency to people who entered the United States illegally. Such conservatives tend to favor mass deportation, or “self-deportation,” for the millions of undocumented immigrants.

    On the other hand, Hispanics in Texas are projected to eclipse the white population sometime in the next decade, and Cruz cannot afford to alienate large numbers of Latino voters with a strident anti-immigrant tone and a hard-line legislative approach. Major business interests also are supporting a path to citizenship.

    What Cruz has tried to articulate in both word and deed is a middle ground. It got no support from Democrats in Washington, but it goes further than many on the far right want to go by offering leniency to undocumented immigrants here already: A path to legal status, but not to citizenship. A green card with no right to naturalization.

    Immigration-reform legislation from the Senate’s so-called Gang of Eight passed that chamber in June and includes a 13-year path to citizenship. Cruz pushed unsuccessfully for amendments that would have, among other things, eliminated the citizenship component.

    Asked about what to do with the people here illegally, however, he stressed that he had never tried to undo the goal of allowing them to stay.

    “The amendment that I introduced removed the path to citizenship, but it did not change the underlying work permit from the Gang of Eight,” he said during a recent visit to El Paso. Cruz also noted that he had not called for deportation or, as Mitt Romney famously advocated, self-deportation.

    Cruz said recent polling indicated that people outside Washington support some reform, including legal status without citizenship. He said he was against naturalization because it rewarded lawbreakers and was unfair to legal immigrants. It also perpetuates illegal crossings, he added.

    Besides barring citizenship while instituting some level of legalization for those here already, Cruz has proposed increasing the number of green cards awarded annually, to 1.35 million from 675,000. He also wants to eliminate the per-country limit that he said left applicants from countries like Mexico, China and India hamstrung when they tried to gain legal entry to this country.

    Cruz said the Obama administration and partisan Democrats would not yield on the citizenship requirement, which they know would kill the entire effort because of a lack of support in the House. The result, he said, will be a future campaign tool by which Democrats can blame Republicans for failing to overhaul immigration.

    “If your objective is actually to pass a bill insisting on a path to citizenship, it is in both intent and effect a poison pill,” he said, adding that he thinks many of the immigration groups working on the issue are “being taken advantage of.”

    Democrats say that Cruz is not in line with what most Americans favor.

    “The majority of Americans support a path to earned citizenship for people who have long been part of our communities — pass a background check, pay a fee and pledge allegiance to our flag,” said U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine. “With so many people and groups in favor of immigration reform, common sense would dictate that those blocking reform are the ones out of the mainstream.”

    Cruz has said the stalemate is denying help to farmers and ranchers who “have a real need for labor resources.”

    On that score, he finds himself out of step with hard-liners who do not believe immigrant laborers are needed.

    Ira Mehlman, a national spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates increased border security and limited immigration, opposes expanding the pool of legal workers the way Cruz proposes. And citizenship or not, he added, legal status still means immigrants take resources from citizens already here.

    "We’re also opposed to the expansion of guest-worker programs,” he said. “There is no evidence of a worker shortage."

    Instead the group wants tougher internal enforcement so illegal immigrants adhere to what he calls "voluntary compliance," or self-deportation. Likewise, the Texas Tea Party activist JoAnn Fleming said she opposed allowing illegal immigrants to get “in line ahead of people who have tried to do it the right way.”

    Cruz routinely cites his own history as inspiration for his views on immigration. His father, Rafael Cruz, a North Texas pastor and Tea Party favorite in his own right, fled Cuba and worked as a dishwasher before attending the University of Texas at Austin on a student visa, and he is now “living the American dream,” Ted Cruz says.

    But critics of Cruz argue that Cubans are awarded what some today would call amnesty. Federal law allows Cubans to adjust their legal status a year after arriving.

    Cruz said American refugee law had always been sympathetic to those in his father’s situation, even before Fidel Castro took hold of the island.

    “U.S. immigration law, for many decades, has included asylum and refugee status for those who have credible fears of persecution and oppression,” he said. He added that Fidel Castro “established a repressive Communist regime that has tortured and murdered countless dissidents.”

    Cuba poses a different scenario from other countries, he said, because U.S. immigration law has recognized for decades that there is a qualitative difference between fleeing political persecution and fleeing poverty.

    Mexico, he said, is a great country, although its drug violence and poverty are horrific, and Mexicans with a credible fear of persecution should apply for asylum. But the problem is not as widespread there, he said.

    “It is not the case that throughout the country of Mexico, everyone there has a credible fear of persecution,” he said. “Our laws allow that to be made on a case-by-case basis.”

    http://www.texastribune.org/2013/09/...middle-ground/
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    MW
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    Your article is dated 2013. Here's something a little more recent:

    http://www.alipac.us/f9/ted-cruz-une...grants-326541/

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MW View Post
    Your article is dated 2013. Here's something a little more recent:

    http://www.alipac.us/f9/ted-cruz-une...grants-326541/
    Yes, that's the article written at the time of the Gang of Eight Bill and addresses his statements on his positions then which according to the following article dated March 27, 2015 have remained "consistent".

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/ted-cruz-...nted-imigrants

    Ted Cruz hasn’t ruled out legal status for undocumented immigrants
    03/27/15 03:13 PM—Updated 03/27/15 04:20 PM
    By Benjy Sarlin

    Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz’s office on Friday indicated the Texas senator remains open to a path to legal status for undocumented workers, putting him at odds with conservatives who deride such a position as unacceptable “amnesty.”

    Cruz opposed the Senate bipartisan immigration bill and its proposed path to citizenship that passed in 2013, but he also indicated to The Texas Tribune that year that he supported giving some undocumented immigrants permission to stay in the country with more limited legal status. He noted that an amendment he had filed to strip the Senate legislation of its citizenship component deliberately “did not change the underlying work permit from the [bill]” that would allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the country without fear of deportation.

    Cruz has almost never discussed his support for legalization since then, instead focusing his public statements on passing border security legislation and making changes to the legal immigration system first. In early 2014, he decried a short-lived proposal by House GOP leaders that granted legal status – but not necessarily citizenship – to certain immigrants as “amnesty for those here illegally.”

    More, recently Cruz has helped lead the charge in Congress against what he calls Obama’s “illegal executive amnesty” which would grant temporary work permits to undocumented immigrants. He’s even threatening a government shutdown to block the measure.

    Asked by msnbc about where Cruz stands now on legalization, campaign spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said that the senator has been “consistent” and confirmed that the views he expressed in the Tribune had not changed. She described his amendment to the Senate “gang of eight” bill as an effort ”to improve a very bad bill” that he ultimately opposed.

    While Frazier said Cruz fought the bill’s path to citizenship because it “flies in the face of the rule of law,” she declined to apply the same label when asked about legal status in the right circumstances.

    “I think his main priority is dealing with the border security component and making sure that we know who is coming into the country and making sure that we have control over who is coming into the country and then we can deal with what to do with the people who are already here,” she said.

    Her comments come a day after rival GOP contender Scott Walker renounced his past support for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants after previously expressing support for the idea.

    Cruz’s position on legal status for undocumented immigrants would put him (on paper at least) just a little closer to Jeb Bush, the Republican candidate most overtly pro-immigration reform, who has floated legal status short of citizenship as a possible legislative compromise. It also bears similarities to another potential 2016 contender, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the co-sponsors of the bipartisan Senate bill. Rubio has since renounced his old legislation in favor of a piecemeal approach that starts with border security and enforcement legislation before moving on to any legalization component.

    The idea anyone could get to the right of Cruz on immigration, who has repeatedly threatened to shut down the government to defund Obama’s “illegal executive amnesty” might come as a surprise. But by the terms of the immigration debate set out so far, his bona fides could absolutely come into question. Many conservatives, including the leading anti-immigration groups, consider any policy that falls short of deportation “amnesty.” It’s this fundamental divide, far more than any argument over legalization vs. citizenship, that has paralyzed GOP attempts at immigration reform.

    “The baseline is anything that lets illegal aliens stay illegally,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors reducing immigration levels, told msnbc. “Anything else is word games.”

    Krikorian told msnbc Cruz’s position easily fits the bill.

    “It’s the same thing: ‘I’m against amnesty, but amnesty doesn’t include giving people work permits,’” Krikorian said. “Really? Then Obama didn’t give amnesty to all those people.”

    Pro-reform Republicans object to this definition, however, arguing that “amnesty” means offering legal status to immigrants without conferring any penalties. This lack of an clear definition of amnesty, beyond “thing conservatives don’t like,” can create a lot of confusion in trying to tease out candidate’s positions.

    Cruz’s views are likely to come under greater scrutiny now that he’s an official presidential candidate. Anti-immigration group NumbersUSA published a blog post on Thursday calling attention to this little-discussed part of Cruz’s legislative history, writing that he “opposes citizenship but supports work permits for illegal aliens.” It has since been removed. Roy Beck, executive director for NumbersUSA, told msnbc that the post published prematurely and was meant for a larger evaluation of the whole presidential field. He said Cruz had typically sided with the group on most issues, but was eager to learn more about his position on legalization.

    “Work permits are the one thing we feel is most harmful,” Beck said. “We will be rating [Cruz] on that. I would say at this point he’s got a pretty good record, but there is some uncertainty.”

    The American Immigration Council published a pro-reform piece this week noting that, beyond opposing citizenship and Obama’s executive actions on immigration, his positions are still unclear.

    Almost every likely Republican 2016 candidate has at least flirted with immigration reform in the past and will face pressure to follow Walker’s lead and renounce past support for a path to citizenship before the race is over. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul both backed a path to citizenship in 2013, for example, though Paul didn’t like to call it that and both opposed the bipartisan Senate bill. Mike Huckabee recently defended his support for granting citizenship to young undocumented immigrants, commonly known as DREAMers.

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/ted-cruz-...nted-imigrants
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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    MW, there's no doubt that for the whole of Cruz's tenure in the US Senate, he has supported legalization for illegal aliens. I've known that, why didn't you know that? Everybody knows or should know that Cruz supports legalization without citizenship. And he lied during the debate about it when Rubio pointed this out. He not only lied about his position, he falsely accused Rubio of lying about him.

    And now, he has changed his position to try to stay in the race for President. Fine. Politicians do that all the time when they think their real positions won't get them elected.

    And if you read both articles carefully, you see that it wasn't Cruz's amendment that was the poison pill, the pathway to citizenship clause in S 744 was the poison pill Cruz was trying to remove from the bill, deliberately keeping legalization in the bill. So it seems that the issue wasn't legalization, it was citizenship because most immigrants become Democrats, so it was politics, not the best interest of our country that was the issue for many of those opposing the Gang of Eight bill.
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    Senior Member realbsball's Avatar
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    This issue w/ him and Rubio has my head spinning. The only thing I take comfort in with this back and forth is knowing that Sessions backed Cruz's position back then. Positions DO evolve (for many reasons), so the important thing is NOW. He needs to be pinned down to an unequivocal position of his entire immigration plan. Then everyone can move past the past
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    He is double talking everyone - pass on cruz.. Like hillary, both will say or do anything to get elected to a position they are unqualified for. Let him stay in the senate several more years and see how he matures. hillary should retire.
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    MW
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    judy wrote:

    And if you read both articles carefully, you see that it wasn't Cruz's amendment that was the poison pill, the pathway to citizenship clause in S 744 was the poison pill Cruz was trying to remove from the bill, deliberately keeping legalization in the bill.
    I don't know why this is so difficult to understand. Removing the pathway to citizenship, was a very good thing. He knew he couldn't remove all legalization and get his Amendment passed, so he concentrated on killing the bill by removing the path to citizenship. Yes, it failed, but he tried to do the right thing by attempting to insert a "poison pill" Amendment in the bill that would have killed it! The Democrats in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House were not going to support a bill that did not include a path to citizenship for illegals. In the House, Nancy Pelosi said a bill without citizenship was unacceptable and would not pass. Continuing to twist the facts to meet a personal agenda (killing Cruz as a viable option) is just not going to work on me.

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    Senior Member Captainron's Avatar
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    All immigrants are much easier to deport before they become citizens. I know this sounds funny--what I mean is that there really is a lot of corruption going on in US society now; for example, the Underground Economy is huge, and law enforcement is spread thin and just downright cynical. For decades it's been true that in bigger cities things like car theft are usually not even investigated. Everything really is just going downhill. But the intent of Congress was that even legal immigrants would have to toe the line very stringently---or else, bye-bye. I'm sure this is not happening, except in fewer and fewer cases. And then, we are giving visas to people considered victims of other international criminals, when in fact they may have been complicit, too.

    Once one-time immigrants become citizens they cannot be made to leave. Probably one reason the Dems keeps pushing citizenship drives. Their lawyers know this is vital to keeping their voting base.
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    MW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captainron View Post
    All immigrants are much easier to deport before they become citizens. I know this sounds funny--what I mean is that there really is a lot of corruption going on in US society now; for example, the Underground Economy is huge, and law enforcement is spread thin and just downright cynical. For decades it's been true that in bigger cities things like car theft are usually not even investigated. Everything really is just going downhill. But the intent of Congress was that even legal immigrants would have to toe the line very stringently---or else, bye-bye. I'm sure this is not happening, except in fewer and fewer cases. And then, we are giving visas to people considered victims of other international criminals, when in fact they may have been complicit, too.

    Once one-time immigrants become citizens they cannot be made to leave. Probably one reason the Dems keeps pushing citizenship drives. Their lawyers know this is vital to keeping their voting base.
    Yep, the Dems definitely look at them as potential voters.

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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by artist View Post
    He is double talking everyone - pass on cruz.. Like hillary, both will say or do anything to get elected to a position they are unqualified for. Let him stay in the senate several more years and see how he matures. hillary should retire.
    I totally 100% agree, artist.
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