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Ted Cruz creates doubt with some Hispanic Republicans

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

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When Ted Cruz submitted his five amendments for the Senate version of the immigration bill, many were shocked when they discovered one of them had essentially wiped out any chance for those currently living here illegally to ever become a U.S. Citizen.

According to his amendment, “…no person who has previously been willfully present in the United States while not in lawful status shall be eligible for United States citizenship.”

For all those in the Republican Party who know the coming trends within the Hispanic community, this amendment works against us by saying, “Republicans don’t care about immigrants or their dream to become an American.”

It illustrates the difference between a compassionate approach (Sen. Marco Rubio’s) and one with no tolerance of illegal immigrants. For many of us republican activists fighting to overcome the negative perceptions instilled by decades of Democratic propaganda, this news comes like a kick in the teeth. In 2012, Texas Republicans adopted new language in their Party Platform to include the Texas Solution, a platform issue dedicated to dealing with the immigration problem, calling for a secure border and a documentation plan based on free-market solutions. One would think the Senator from Texas would be more in tune with the wishes of the members of his Party.

During his primary campaign Ted Cruz stopped in Waco to attend a Tea Party forum, showcasing the Senate candidates. After the event, I interviewed Cruz, who along with others during the forum had avoided dealing with the toxic issue of immigration.

As we began our interview, I asked if he had a plan to deal with the 11-20 million illegal residents now living in America. “I think we can’t even begin to discuss what we need to do with those living here illegally until we can secure the border,” responded Cruz.

I replied, “Assuming the border has been secured, what would you do with those living here illegally?” Cruz, becoming agitated, responded, “As I said, nothing matters until we secure the border,” as he continued to evade my specific question.

“I realize we need to secure the border, you’ve mentioned that already, but once we do secure it, and I’m sure we can, what then do we do with those still living in America illegally?” I asked for the third time.

“Duke, you seem to be fixated on this one issue…there are more issues that need to be discussed,” said Cruz. “I agree, there are many we can discuss, but no one seems to be asking this specific question, and based on how you’re responding, I’m beginning to feel that you’re not going to give me an answer,” I replied.

I began to turn my camera off, “Are we done?” asked Cruz. “Well, I think so. You aren’t going to answer my questions, so I have nothing else to say,” I replied. It was clear he didn’t want the interview to end that way, so he began to talk about his family history, emphasizing how much he believed in a legal immigration system.

When the interview was over, I walked away convinced he either had no plan at all to deal with illegal immigrants living in America, or he had a plan, but was not willing to share it with me.

Now we know what his plan was; to deny any illegal resident the ability to ever rectify their situation and become a U.S. Citizen. Why did he withhold that small piece of information? It’s because his number one opponent, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, had already been discussing a plan to document those living here illegally, letting them work their way into citizenship down the road. Dewhurst was talking to grassroots groups about a plan very similar to what Senator Marco Rubio has proposed.

Political suicide?

It would have been political suicide for Ted Cruz to tell me his ultimate plan, which would have galvanized many who feel deportation is not an option and may have made the difference in the election.

It took a while to finally get an answer to what Cruz might do with the illegals in America; he revealed his intentions yesterday in an amendment to the Senate Immigration Bill.

Those of us working to grow the Republican Party through Hispanic inclusion have been dealt a major blow, by one of our own. I imagine the Democrats in Texas, especially those in the Battleground Texas project, feel as though they’ve been given a gift from God, courtesy of Ted Cruz.

With his recent action, Ted Cruz has virtually guaranteed he will receive a challenger from the Democrat Party. Potential candidates like Julian Castro, San Antonio Mayor, only need a slight advantage and using Cruz’ record against him, Democrats will beat the anti-immigrant drum to draw the largest Hispanic voter turnout in history.

Why does Ted Cruz oppose citizenship for those living here illegally, yet support the Cuban Adjustment Act, which grants citizenship to Cubans for the same residency issues? It makes no sense, and his actions are poisoning the waters among Hispanics in Texas which are 80 percent Mexican.

Our Texas Senator should understand the dynamics of his state better. I am saddened to know he thinks so little of the immigrants who came here for a better life, whether they came legally or just crossed the Rio Grande for survival.

Based on what I’ve heard from grassroots leaders and Hispanic activists on the ground in Texas, Cruz was likely put in a position to satisfy his donors, many of which far-right circles, who have been chanting “NO AMNESTY” and who without their donations, his election would not have been possible.

Surely Cruz feels he’s done no wrong, and is justified in his actions, but time will tell. In my opinion, he has upset many Republicans and there will be repercussions.

Comments (3)

  1. Didn’t Ted Cruz also make it easier to become a legal immigrant by his amendment?

    Listen, I’m for discouraging illegal immigration only if we secure the border and make the requirements to become a legal immigrant far less unfair.

    If someone passes a background check and proves they’re coming to work hard, then why do we make it so difficult for them to become a citizen?

    I also think work visas so they can establish themselves would be good.

    Ted Cruz’s amendment at first reading seems harsh, but a deeper look he has the right idea. Make it much easier to follow the rules and instead of being punished by the system, you can become legal.

    It used to be easier to immigrant to the US. There were not a sea of rules. Now we’ve buried people under them to the point that we discourage legal immigration.

    It’s time to go in the reverse. Heavily discourage illegal immigration while encouraging legal. Make for work visas and green cards easier to obtain by those who follow the system. Make it so easy to do the right thing that people who don’t are the ones we should be suspicious of as they must want to hide something.

    I agree with Ted Cruz’s approach in this sense. I speak spanish. I’ve lived in South America. I love hispanic culture. The US needs immigration, but our system makes it near impossible to do so legally if you don’t have money to begin with. Why?

    Let’s make it inexcusable not to do so legally by making increasing the number of visas (which Ted Cruz offered) and lessening the silly bureaucratic nonsense.

    The US used to have a system where it was so easy to immigrate legally there was no excuse not to. If you were illegal, people would wonder why? It’s so easy to be legal.

    While we must know who is coming in, if they’re safe and honest why prevent them from coming?

    My impression from Ted Cruz’s approach is that is the goal. Remove all excuses not to become legal. Create a system that stops punishing those who try to come here legally.

    I agree with that.

    • DukeMachado DukeMachado

      Megan, thanks for your well thought response.

      Much of what you suggest is in the Rubio bill. Rubio’s plan calls for a streamlining of the system, where low-skilled workers as well as high-skilled professionals, can come here to prosper.

      It shouldn’t be so hard to come here, but it is. It costs money they don’t have. Most are in hard times, and struggling with the decision to stay in Mexico and suffer, or risk everything and come to America.

      Those people don’t have time to wait…and if they did, the fees and requirements make it impossible for a poor person in Mexico or any other country.

      So, they come. They’ve been coming and haven’t stopped. A capitalist society, where one could achieve based on one’s will to achieve, ,is a lure to those who dream of providing for their family.

      The greatest Republican president in modern times, Ronald Reagan, was a part of a compassionate solution, that allowed those here illegally, to earn their way toward citizenship.

      Those people figured out a way to do it. They overcame the obstacles and provided the documentation. They learned the language. They became U.S. citizens and they love this country.

      To say that we should deny them now, would be difficult to explain and justify, since we’ve done it before. And, if Cruz was successful in killing this portion of the bill, through his amendment, the Republican Party would be branded as the “Dream Killer.”

      This plays right into the hands of Battleground Texas organizers…

      • Thank you for your response.

        I agree on the sentiments. I think we both agree that this is a difficult situation.

        This situation has largely been caused by an unfair immigration system that makes playing by the rules impossible. However, amnesty will only encourage some of that.

        I agree with much of Rubio’s bill, however, I find some things alarming about it. I feel democrats have stuck in a lot to exploit this. Maybe it’s my own biased against Schumer (the way he killed the Chinatown Bus in the Northeast through was disgusting in my opinion), but he is trying to force in a lot that conservatives are right to point out as flaws.

        I feel helping 11 million achieve citizenship by reforming the immigration system is essential and needs to be done. However, I increasingly believe the good of this bill is being undermined by Senators like Schumer. In fact, it’s not just some republicans trying to undermine it (though they’re vocal about it) they’re democrats trying to do it too.

        If you’re curious why democrats would want to do that, look at the Black Caucas. Believe it or not, they’re have been protests from African-Americans who don’t want more immigrants here (they seem to regard them as a threat) and have been bearing down on democrats to stop this.

        The democrats are stuck in a rock and a hard place. They can’t vote against it (they want the hispanic vote), but a large segment of their base is deeply against it.

        So they seem to work to undermine it in other ways knowing they have the upper hand. If it goes down, the republicans get the blame. The best outcome for the democrats is for it to fail so they can further paint the GOP as the racist party.

        A segment of the GOP is so desperate to pass it though that no matter how many questionable things the democrats stuff in it (ones some of them were sure were Bill-killers) republicans like Rubio keep accepting.

        It’s politics at its worse and unlikely to end well for the GOP.

        It’s becoming very rigged.

        With half of unions and the African-American vote pressuring democrats to kill it, the democrats are making the bill worse for the GOP. Democrats ARE trying to kill it without looking like they are. They want all the blame to fall on the GOP (who aren’t helping matters).

        It’s dirty and under-handed = politics.

        At this point, I think the GOP can’t save the good in it from the bad. I’m hoping the House can fix it. The Texas House GOP (despite Stockman and some) overwhelmingly want to get an immigration bill through. So whatever it’s problems in the Senate, it has more allies in the House (thanks to the Texas GOP delegation being so large).

        I’ve not given up hope on that. I just think it’s up to the House to fix its numerous problems.

        Ted Cruz, though it may seem like he was being harsh, I think made a fair point. The question is, “Are we fixing the problem?”

        What about next time? More amnesty?

        What irks many people is not giving people citizenship, but rewarding breaking the rules. On one hand, the rules are so unfair that it can’t be helped, but on the other that’s what we’re doing.

        I think the immigration bill should pass the Senate and hopefully, be fixed in the House. The GOP delegation (lots of Arizonians, Texans, and some Californians) have a far better grasp of the real issues in immigration than the Senate (what does Schumer really know about illegal immigration?)

        But I agree, illegal immigration is illegal for a reason. Laws become meaningless when you start making too many exceptions and saying, “Well these are the rules, but they don’t apply to you now”.

        Ted Cruz is right. It should be illegal, but that said, legal immigration should be much easier. And those already here should be given a second chance to get in line to do it right.

        As for, “they can’t wait” I find that weak. They’ve waited years already. Even if this passes, they’ll wait more still.

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