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The Immigration Questions Ted Cruz Won’t Answer

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The Immigration Questions Ted Cruz Won’t Answer

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By Sahil Kapur, Bloomberg News (TNS)

WASHINGTON — Even as he makes immigration a central issue in his presidential campaign, there are two important questions on the topic that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has repeatedly declined to answer.

The first is what to do about the estimated 11 million people in the U.S. illegally. The second is whether granting them some form of legal status (even something short of a path to citizenship) amounts to “amnesty.”

“I consider amnesty to be forgiving the law-breaking of those who come here illegally and having no consequences and in particular, a path to citizenship,” he told reporters in Clinton, Iowa, before a campaign event, when asked to define the term.

Pressed on whether legal status for undocumented immigrants amounted to amnesty, Cruz moved on and took a different question. As the news conference ended, the Texan was asked that question again, and declined to say.

Cruz has proposed what he calls the “most aggressive” plan to crack down on illegal immigration, but it’s silent on how to handle the current undocumented population. One of his rivals, Donald Trump, has proposed mass deportation, an idea criticized for being wildly expensive (more than $400 billion, according to one conservative estimate). Another rival, Sen. Marco Rubio, is open to a path to eventual citizenship, a position Cruz has blasted as “amnesty” (though Cruz hasn’t said if he believes legal status without a path to citizenship also counts as “amnesty”).

An email to reporters by Rubio’s campaign declared that “Senator Cruz is proving to be rather consistent only in dodging questions.”

Cruz has struggled to find a safe place in between, and said in recent months he won’t discuss what to do about people in the country illegally until the border is “secure.”

So Bloomberg put the question to Cruz in an exclusive interview Monday afternoon between campaign events in Iowa: What will it take to achieve a “secure border” and therefore address undocumented immigrants?

In response, Cruz deflected and attacked Democrats as soft on illegal immigration. Asked in a follow-up if he’d be willing to address the question of what to do about the undocumented population once all the security measures he has proposed — including a border wall, tripling the border patrol and a biometric entry-exit visa tracking system — are in place, Cruz pivoted to insisting he’ll prioritize securing the border and stopping illegal immigration.

The Texan’s challenge is that he’s boxed in: Any hint of support for normalizing the status of undocumented immigrants risks turning off the conservative voters he’s relying on, while mass deportation is widely viewed as impractical — and inhumane by some Republicans. Cruz’s progressive critics say his demurrals are a red-herring — that he’s setting up obstacles that will never be met.

What Cruz preferred to discuss is his vote against comprehensive immigration reform in 2013, a bill despised by many conservatives, and that Rubio supported but has since backed away from. During the press conference in the town of Clinton, Cruz said his record and Rubio’s record are as different as “the arsonist and the fireman,” adding: “Marco Rubio led the fight standing shoulder to shoulder with Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama for a massive amnesty plan.”

Speaking to Bloomberg, Cruz made clear he would, as president, immediately end President Barack Obama’s 2012 program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to grant deportation relief and two-year work permits to roughly 650,000 young people brought to the country illegally as children. Cruz also said he’d end Obama’s 2014 actions to expand deportation relief.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has promised to protect and expand on both programs, a stance that is popular with Hispanic voters, who could decide a close election if it comes down to key swing states like Florida, Colorado and Nevada.

©2015 Bloomberg News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Ted Cruz, right, would rather deflect to criticize Democrats than answer questions. Marc Nozell via Flickr

 

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8 Comments

  1. TZToronto December 2, 2015

    When it comes to policy, few of the GOP candidates have much to say about anything. Only Donald Trump expresses a definitive opinion about anything–and his ideas are basically poorly-though-out, knee-jerk (pun intended) reactions to serious questions. Most, with the exception of Trump, are fearful of alienating some part of the GOP/TP base by saying anything that could be misconstrued as being soft on [NAME THE ISSUE]. What these candidates don’t seem to understand is that all but one of them will be sitting on the sidelines when the eventual nominee is chosen–and there’s only one spot left, VP. If one of the clown car performers wraps up the nomination before the convention, look for all the rest to start jockeying for the second spot on the ticket. It doesn’t matter what you say as long as you don’t say anything.

    Reply
    1. Rippie December 5, 2015

      “It doesn’t matter what you say as long as you don’t say anything.”

      To be fair, and honest, that’s exactly how Obama was elected… lots of gum-flapping, but not much “there” there.

      He basically, and I said he’d do exactly this back in 04, turned his “Fifteen Minutes of Fame” into a full presidential term.

      And he said nearly nothing of substance to get there. Vapid wins the race!

      Reply
  2. Whatmeworry December 2, 2015

    Cruz should be deported back to Canada

    Reply
    1. Rippie December 5, 2015

      THEY don’t even deserve Turd Crudz. Send him to Kabul.

      Reply
  3. bobnstuff December 3, 2015

    Ted is the negative candidate, he is running on the fact he said no to everything. He like most republicans don’t have a clue how to lead or for that matter what it takes to run the country. The congress is on the path to another low production again and this time they can’t blame Harry. We are half way through the 114th congress and have 93 bills passed. The one thing you can say for the Conservative takeover of the republican party is the fear they create within the party, say something wrong and they will eat you for lunch.

    Reply
  4. FireBaron December 4, 2015

    In response to his questions by Bloomberg, The Worthy Senator from Canada took out a copy of a Doctor Seuss book (“Oh, the Places You’ll Go. The Things You’ll Do”) and provided a dramatic reading.

    Reply
    1. Rippie December 5, 2015

      Turd Crudz’ rending of Seuss definitely stretched him both artistically and intellectually, but all the other GOPeabrains were rooting for him, so he slogged on and pulled through.

      Reply
  5. Rippie December 5, 2015

    The more he does this sort of squirming, the more he confirms my longtime assessment of him as a fakeass Christian, fakeass Teabagger duplicitous money-interested hater of anyone who needs a hand or a leg up.

    He has no sense of community or compassion, is condescending and spiteful, and mocks everything and everyone, even while praising some. He’s forever arrested intellectually and emotionally, as a selfish 13 year old boy who stomps his feet a lot and says “mine, mine, mine!” all the time.

    He’s the single most dangerous person in national politics today, even more than NostraDonald, who is smart enough to change course when he sees an iceberg.

    Turd Crudz is not.

    Reply

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