On Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that including a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants in any comprehensive immigration bill would jeopardize the likelihood of the legislation passing.
“I think if instead the bill includes elements that are deeply divisive–and I would note that I don’t think there is any issue in this entire debate that is more divisive than a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally–in my view, any bill that insists upon that jeopardizes the likelihood of passing any immigration reform bill,” Cruz said at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing, according to CNS News.
The conservative senator from Texas said Americans should “all be champions of legal immigrants making the system work” and celebrate legal immigrants. He said the bill should focus on improving legal immigration instead of giving a pathway to citizenship to illegal immigrants.
The Gang of Eight’s proposed immigration bill includes an eventual path to citizenship for the country’s current illegal immigrants. Sens. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) are Republicans that make up the Gang of Eight, along with Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
Cruz said he hoped the “reform legislation will not be held hostage to an issue that is deeply, deeply divisive, namely a pathway to citizenship.” He said it was his hope that Congress could pass a bipartisan bill addressing areas of common agreement like “securing the border, improving legal immigration, improving agricultural workers to ensure that we have workers who are here out of the shadows, able to work legally.”
“In my view, that’s how we get something done–we focus on areas of agreement, not on areas of disagreement, and I’m hopeful that over the course of consideration, we’ll see some consensus come together to do exactly that,” he said.