The campaign team of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) isn’t going to back down to MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt on the question of amnesty without a fight.
Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told Breitbart News in response to an exchange Cruz had with Hunt on the campaign trail:
We know the left and their enablers in the media are not interested in securing the border, so they immediately jump to the question of what to do with the 11 million here illegally. Well, if we do secure the border, deport criminal illegal aliens, end sanctuary cities, and institute a functioning E-verify system, it will reduce the population of those who are here illegally. And at that point we can begin to have that discussion and how to go about truly solving the problem we face. But the media is not interested in solving the problem because, much like the proponents of the Gang of Eight amnesty bill, they prefer to use the problem as a political wedge issue. And Cruz demonstrated that was their purpose several times during that debate. Unlike the American people, they are simply uninterested in solving the problem.
The campaign of Cruz rival Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent out a clip of the video of the MSNBC exchange to reporters, along with a partial transcript and a note saying Cruz was “dodging an immigration question not once, but four times.”
Here’s a clip of the YouTube video:
And here’s a partial transcript, courtesy of Rubio’s team:
KASIE HUNT: “How do you define amnesty?”
SEN. TED CRUZ: “Well, listen you’re right. We have seen an awful lot of the Republican candidates for president who want to obscure the record on immigration.”
HUNT: “But how do you define amnesty?”
SEN. CRUZ: “In particular, we have seen Marco Rubio’s campaign trying very much to blur the record.”
HUNT: “How do you define amnesty?”
SEN. CRUZ: “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.”
HUNT: “And is a path to legalization also amnesty, sir? Is a path to legalization amnesty, sir?”
The video cuts off as another reporter asks Cruz a different question.
But Cruz’s argument is that there shouldn’t even be a discussion about the illegal aliens already in America until the rest of the immigration problems—specifically border security, interior enforcement, and legal immigration and guest worker levels—are solved. And he’s not dodging the question, he’s answering it in his own way—without agreeing to the framing the liberal media has put on the issue.
Cruz also addressed the matter on the Hugh Hewitt radio program on Monday:
Once we secure the border, you stop filling the boat that’s sinking, a number of people start to go home voluntarily every year to be with their families. That population will start shrinking. After that, you deport the criminal illegal aliens. The population continues to shrink. After that, you put in place strong E-verify so those here illegally can’t get jobs. The population continues to shrink. And then once we have finally demonstrated to the American people that we have secured the border, the problem’s solved, it’s not a promise from a politician, it’s not empty words, it’s been done, then and only then, I think we should have a conversation with the American people about what we should do about whatever smaller population remains. But I don’t think we should start there at the front end. We should start with border security, and that’s what I’ll do as president.
Again, ultimately, Cruz isn’t going to agree to the left’s framing of the issue—and won’t even have a “conversation” about what to do with those illegally in America until the rest of the immigration situation is under control.
What’s perhaps most interesting about this whole scenario is the fact that Rubio—of all people in the 2016 GOP field probably the most troubled on immigration after his role working with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on the Gang of Eight amnesty bill last Congress—is the one launching these attacks on Cruz.