Recently, we have seen a wide-range of policy critiques of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) coming from both sides of the political aisle. An article titled, “One State, 2 Senators, 2 Views on Immigration, and One Push for Big Government”, written by Alex Gonzalez, sharply criticized the policy positions of the junior Senator as contradictory in regards to his campaign commitment to solution-focused, limited government immigration policy.
HYPERLINK to article:
To begin examining the mischaracterizations in Mr. Gonzalez’s piece, one should first look at the recent “Gang of Four” letter (from Sens. Cruz, Grassley, Sessions, Lee). This letter focused on several key areas not sufficiently addressed in the infamous “Gang of Eight” bill. It very succinctly spells out the problems in the bill as problems that do not work to fix our current and broken immigration system.
HYPERLINK to letter.
The claims below are several of the positions made in Mr. Gonzalez’s op-ed that either misrepresented the immigration policy debate entirely or Sen. Cruz’s policy positions as enunciated in the “Gang of Four” letter.
Claim: The two different views by the two senators from Texas is clear indication that this is more about Tea Party political irrational fixation with immigration, and less about policy. And this fixation at its core is a push for government enlargement by Sen. Cruz.
Sen. Cornyn and Sen. Cruz both submitted proposals that would substantially increase border security personnel and resources. Cruz went further by requiring adherence to existing federal law including “the completion of the fencing and biometric entry-exit system”. The idea of enforcing existing federal law as a pre-requisite for enacting new law is consistent with the principle of limited government. In other words, how can we expect to effectively legislate and enforce new law when we are not enforcing laws we already have in place? The simple answer is we cannot. In regards to reforming government to limit the size, scope, and extent of its power, should we start with expenditures dedicated to the exercise of explicitly constitutional federal authority such as immigration, or the endless list of those with dubious and minimal constitutional foundations that Cruz and others are championing to eliminate?
Stated differently, the principle of limited government centers around the federal government effectively executing its constitutional authority, and refraining from usurping authority to the contrary. The relevant question is whether the resources currently used to effectively guard the border are sufficient. Few would claim that they are. A substantial increase in border security resources is not a ‘de facto’ abandonment of limited government principles.
Claim: The Amendments proposed by Sen. Senator Cruz…to further enlarge government…[presents] serious Constitutional violations to homeowners, ranchers in South Texas, and all border communities who will have to relinquish land and properties the Department of Homeland Security and the Obama Administration.
Again, increasing the number of security personal and drones won’t result in a ‘de facto’ infringement on the property rights of southern Texans. Those currently engaged in Illegal activity and the federal government’s inability to address such activity is indeed, a direct threat to the persons and property of homeowners along the border, who currently face near-lawless conditions.
Claim: The big government Amendments proposed by Sen. Cruz do not reflect the values of limited government that Texas value, but rather resembles the big Progressive government policies of the 1920s and Prohibition Era that sought to fix economy and social programs by creating federal bureaucracies to regulate economic activity and morality.
Unlike the progressive economic and social programs of the 1920s, immigration regulation and border security are both clearly under the constitutional authority of the federal government. Cruz’s proposals are aimed to address immigration problems that are currently exacerbating economic and social costs due to incentives created by the progressive era, welfare state programs.
One of the main reasons why Cruz campaigned on comprehensive immigration reform is due to the consequent social and economic costs of a broken legal system, coupled with the luring incentives of an expansive welfare state. In fact, Cruz introduced an amendment that would have made illegal immigrants “ineligible for federal, state, or local means-tested welfare benefits”. This was, of course, rejected in committee. Once again, Mr. Gonzalez erroneously tried to link Sen. Cruz to big government spending. This simply is not the case.
Claim: Sen. Cruz…presumes that tripling the size of the Border Patrol is the solution. But tripling of the size of Border Patrol only will strength the role of Border Patrol Unions, which are not under the purview of the federal government or the state of Texas, but rather Union Bosses.
Border Patrol Unions are under the purview of the irresponsible politicians who designed a legal system that gives them preferential treatment, at the expense of taxpayers. Additionally, Cruz believes that providing the necessary security staff to reduce illegal immigration is only part of the solution. Elements like drones, night vision and even a wall are all necessary tools to secure that border. Mr. Gonzalez regretfully demonstrated another falsehood in suggesting Sen. Cruz “presumes tripling the size of the Border Patrol is the solution.”
The biggest differentiator between Cruz’s policy proposals and that of most of his colleagues is his emphasis on streamlining legal immigration. As a nation, we must respect the rule of law as it is a fundamental cornerstone of our republic. Cruz proposed “doubling the annual green-card cap, eliminating the diversity green-card program and per-country caps, and reduce bureaucracy in the green-card system”. For most Mexicans migrating to Texas to improve their standard of living, the legal immigration process is not a pragmatic option. For some, the process could take up to 17 years. Consequently, a billion dollar people smuggling black market has emerged, not only endangering the lives of Mexican immigrants themselves, but also creating a well-funded opposing force that government agents tirelessly fight against. Cruz is not an advocate of unions for government workers; this problem exists outside the realm of Cruz’s proposals and the immigration debate altogether.
Claim: Sens. Cornyn, McCain, and Kyle–all Republican border states– have such different views from Sen. Cruz. How can a reasonable person presume that Jeff Session and Mike Lee can know more about border than Sen. Cornyn’s, and therefore, that is why Cruz sided with them over Sen. Cornyn. Well you can’t.
We have a broken immigration system and unsecured border. That is a fact. Sen. Cruz and Sen. Cornyn both are aware of this and do not have major substantive differences as both feel border security is of paramount concern. It should come as no surprise that Sen. Cruz would develop his own amendments rather than just playing along to get along with the old rank and file. That is precisely the reason Texas overwhelmingly elected Sen. Cruz. McCain, unlike Lee, went out of his way to chastise “Wacko-bird” Cruz for participating in Rand Paul’s admirable filibuster and has since distanced himself from other conservative senators while aligning himself with the moderate wings of both parties. The fact that Cruz has distanced himself from McCain’s policy prescriptions has done more to strengthen, not weaken, his credibility with Texans.
You don’t have to live in a border state to be able to identify common-sense immigration policy. Lee and Cruz both know this and favor an incremental reform approach covered in multiple bills, not a massive overhaul contained in a single bill, where both political parties make concessions, not by excluding ineffective provisions from the bill, but by allowing non-sense provisions to be included, so long as their respective pieces make the final draft. Is it any wonder that common sense solutions have yet to come out of Washington in this sort of environment and cronyism culture?
Senator Cruz and Cornyn have both expressed concerns with the “Gang of Eight” bill; both have had the frustrating experience of having common-sense amendments be rejected in committee. Close scrutiny regarding the merits of either legislator’s proposals may result in a variety of conclusions. What it won’t result in is Mr. Gonzalez’s characterization of Ted Cruz as progressive, big-government Republican squish. Besides, John McCain and Lindsey Graham are locking horns to claim top honors for the title. In my judgment, journalists inside the GOP should spend more time criticizing those tenured Senators who have earned rebuke; not only for masterminding bad policy, but for demagoguing those who shed light on their follies of wanton disregard for principled conservatism in a desperate attempt to resuscitate the last few breaths of their waning political careers.