Rubio, Cruz Spar Over Immigration, Cruz Says ‘I Do Not Intend to Support Legalization’

Republican presidential candidates Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Senator Marco Rubio sparred over immigration during Tuesday’s primetime debate on CNN.

After Rubio talked about his plan, Cruz was asked about prior charges Rubio had made that the two aren’t very different on immigration, he responded, “there was a battle over amnesty, and some chose, like Senator Rubio, to stand with Barack Obama and [Sen.] Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and support a massive amnesty plan. Others chose to stand with [Sen.] Jeff Sessions, (R-AL) and [Rep.] Steve King (R-IA), and the American people, and secure the border. And let me mention, this issue is actually directly connected to what we’ve been talking about, because the front line with ISIS isn’t just in Iraq and Syria, it’s also in Kennedy Airport and the Rio Grande. Border security is national security. And you know, one of the most troubling aspects of the Rubio-Schumer Gang of Eight bill was that it gave President Obama blanket authority to admit refugees, including Syrian refugees, without mandating any background checks whatsoever.”

Rubio countered, “In 2013, we had never faced a crisis like the Syrian refugee crisis now. Up until that point, a refugee meant someone fleeing oppression, fleeing Communism, like it is in my community. As far as Ted’s record, I’m always puzzled by his attack on this issue. Ted, you support legalizing people who are in this country illegally. Ted Cruz supported a 500% increase in the number of H-1B visas, the guest workers that are allowed into this country, and Ted supports doubling the number of green cards.”

Cruz argued back, “It is not accurate, what he just said, that I supported legalization. Indeed, I led the fight against his legalization and amnesty bill. And you know, there was one commentator that put it this way, that for Marco to suggest our record’s the same is like suggesting the fireman and the arsonist have the same record because they’re both at the scene of the fire.”

Later on, after a period of crosstalk, Rubio asked Cruz if he would rule out legalization for people in the country illegally, Cruz responded, “I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization. And let me tell you how you do this, what you do, is you enforce the law. I’ve laid out a very, very detailed immigration plan on my website, it’s 11 pages, existing federal law, and in particular the question of what to do with people who are here now, you enforce the law. That means you stop the Obama administration’s policy of releasing criminal illegal aliens. Do you know how many illegal aliens Bill Clinton deported? 12 million. Do you know how many illegal aliens George W. bush deported? 10 million. We can enforce the laws, and if we secure the border, that solves the problem, and as president, I will solve this problem and secure the border.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett 


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