Cruz: Gang of 8 Amendment Didn’t Allow Legal Status, Amendments Were Designed To Show ‘Hypocrisy’

Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz stated that amendments he proposed to the Gang of Eight bill were designed to expose “hypocrisy” on behalf of the bill’s authors and that he did not propose an amendment allowing illegal immigrants to obtain legal status on Wednesday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel.

Cruz was asked about his remarks at the previous night’s debate that he had never supported legalization for illegal immigrants. Anchor Bret Baier played a clip of Cruz in 2013 saying, “I don’t want immigration reform to fail. I want immigration reform to pass, and so I would urge people of good faith on both sides of the aisle, if the objective is to pass common sense immigration reform, that secures the borders, that improves legal immigration, and that allows those who are here illegally to come in out of the shadows, then we should look for areas of bipartisan agreement and compromise to come together.”

Baier then asked Cruz about the amendment he was discussing that clip that “would have allowed undocumented immigrants to remain in the US permanently, and obtain legal status.”

Cruz responded, “Actually, Bret, it wouldn’t have. What was happening there is that was the battle over the Gang of Eight, the Rubio/Schumer amnesty bill, which was a massive amnesty bill proposed by Senator [Marco] Rubio (R-FL), by [Sen.] Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Barack Obama, and I was leading the fight against amnesty. I was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with [Sen.] Jeff Sessions (R-AL). I was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with [Rep.] Steve King (R-IA), leading the fight to secure the borders. And what I did, that particular amendment was an amendment I introduced to remove citizenship, to those who are here illegally, shall be permanently ineligible for citizenship. Now, the fact that I introduced an amendment to remove part of the Gang of Eight bill, doesn’t mean I support the rest of the Gang of Eight bill. The Gang of Eight bill was a mess. It was a terrible bill.”

Baier then cut in to object that this wasn’t what Cruz said at the time. He then read three quotations from Cruz at the time where he said, “If this amendment were to pass, the chances of this bill passing into law would increase dramatically,” expressed belief that his amendment “is the compromise that can pass,” and “if my amendment[s] were adopted, the bill would pass.”

Cruz responded, “Of course I wanted the bill to pass — my amendment to pass. What my amendment did is take citizenship off the table. But it doesn’t mean…that I supported the other aspects of the bill, which was a terrible bill. and Bret, you’ve been around Washington long enough, you know how to defeat bad legislation, which is what that amendment did, is it revealed the hypocrisy of Chuck Schumer, and the Senate Democrats, and the establishment Republicans who were supporting them, because they all voted against it. And listen, I’ll give you the simplest proof why this notion that my fighting amnesty somehow made me a supporter of amnesty. [Sen.] Jeff Sessions (R-AL) voted with me on my amendment to eliminate citizenship. Now is anyone remotely suggesting that Jeff Sessions supports amnesty? Of course not.”

Baier pressed, “The problem though is, at the time you were telling people like Byron York with the Washington Examiner that this was not a poison pill. You told him, ‘My objective was not to kill immigration reform.’ You said you wanted it to pass at the time. So, my question to you is, looking back at what you said then and what you’re saying now, which one should people believe?”

Cruz answered, “the amendments I introduced, and I introduced five amendments, a whole series of amendments, what they did, is they illustrated the hypocrisy of the Democrats. They showed that it was a partisan effort, and they succeeded in defeating the Rubio/Schumer amnesty bill.”

Later, when asked about his current policy on what to do with illegal immigrants in the US, Cruz stated, “if I am president, we will follow the law, and I’ll make a commitment to you, as president, I will secure the borders. I will build a wall that works. I will triple the Border Patrol. I will stop catch and release. I will stop releasing criminal illegal aliens. We will stop welfare payments to illegal aliens.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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