Let’s do the 2013 Rubio amnesty first.
The leftist Washington Post reports on how Cruz tried to stop the Rubio amnesty by introducing amendments that would undermine support for the bill, or weaken the bill if it did get passed.
Cruz has been a staunch opponent of giving a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who entered the United States illegally. In 2013, Cruz introduced five amendments:
- Cruz 1: To triple the number of Border Patrol agents and quadrupling the equipment along the border.
- Cruz 2: To deny means-tested government benefits to those who entered illegally.
- Cruz 3: To strip away the pathway to citizenship.
- Cruz 4: To expand legal immigration, by increasing employment-based immigration from 140,000 to 1,012,500 per year.
- Cruz 5: To raise the H-1B high-skilled worker cap from 65,000 visas to 325,000 per year.
Note that “legalizing” someone can mean just giving them a temporary work permit, so that they are in the country legally, but have no permanent right to stay, much less get citizenship. The thing is, it’s not even clear that Cruz would have voted for the bill with his amendments. His goal was to derail the bill by embedding things in it that the supporters did not want. Like the “no path to citizenship” that Rubio wanted. And this is exactly how Democrats saw his amendments.
Here’s what happened:
When pressed about his 2013 statements and the citizenship amendment after the GOP debate, Cruz said: “It’s called calling their bluff.”
And in a Dec. 16, 2015, interview with Bret Baier on Fox News: “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 [D-N.Y.] and the Senate Democrats and the establishment Republicans who were supporting them because they all voted against it.”
[…]Current and former Democratic Senate staffers familiar with the negotiations confirmed to The Fact Checker that Cruz’s bill was, indeed, viewed as a poison pill in 2013. Consider the impact some of his amendments would have had on the fragile agreements the coalition negotiated:
- Tripling Border Patrol agents: The Senate ultimately approved an amendment to double the number of Border Patrol agents. But tripling the number would’ve gone too far and lost the support of some immigration groups, which believed an even bigger increase would be badly received by border communities and the public.
- Expanding legal immigration: Such a dramatic increase in employment-based immigration and H-1B visas went far beyond the coalition’s negotiated cap at 65,000. As The Washington Post’s Paul Kane reported, Democrats, Republicans and their allies in the labor movement and corporate America worked for months to agree on this number, which was backed by the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A slight increase or decrease would have jeopardized support from either the AFL-CIO or the Chamber of Commerce; Cruz’s proposal was a 400 percent increase from the negotiated cap.
- Removing pathway to citizenship: This was the major negotiation point for the Gang of Eight, and would have killed the bill.
In reference to the citizenship amendment, then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said during the 2013 hearing: “My concern with this, I feel it would virtually gut the bill … and gut what has been a very careful balance by Republicans and Democrats and the sponsors of it.”
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a Gang of Eight Democrat, echoed the concern at the hearing: “If we do not have a path to citizenship, there is no reform, many of us feel. That is a bottom line here.” The Gang of Eight Republicans on the Judiciary Committee sided with Democrats in rejecting this amendment.
In a statement to The Fact Checker, Schumer confirmed Cruz’s bill was viewed as a poison pill: “This was an attempt to kill the bill, and there was no doubt at the time that Senator Cruz knew it would do exactly that.”
This is what Marco Rubio is getting angry with Cruz about in the debates. Cruz introduced 5 amendments meant to destroy the agreement among supporters of the bill. And the bill died. Rubio actually voted against Cruz’s amendment that would have taken citizenship off the table. He also opposed poison pill amendments by amnesty opponents Mike Lee and Jeff Sessions.
Conservative Mark Levin recently interviewed Jeff Sessions about Ted Cruz’s role in the battle over amnesty, and you can read about it here on the Daily Wire.
The second amnesty battle
Rubio’s amnesty was defeated in 2013, but there was another amnesty to come in 2014. This time, from the pen of Barack Obama.
The Blaze reports:
On Saturday night, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) won a battle, but not the war, against President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.
Cruz led the fight to force a Senate vote on Obama’s immigration plans, as a condition of approving a massive, $1.1 trillion spending bill for 2015. He was able to make that vote happen by arguing that the spending bill violated the Constitution because it would fund Obama’s plan — a plan Cruz and other Republicans say is illegal because it rewrites immigration law without any input from Congress.
“Tonight is the first opportunity that Congress has to express its disapproval,” Cruz said late Saturday of Obama’s immigration plan.
Cruz lost the vote, as expected in a Senate that is still controlled by Democrats for a few more weeks. But Cruz’s tactics — which forced the Senate to work unexpectedly late into Saturday night — also drew criticism from Republicans, and several GOP senators vote against Cruz.
In the final vote, the Senate decided 22-74 against Cruz — less than half of the Senate’s 45 Republicans voted with Cruz.
[…]Cruz raised his constitutional argument against the bill on Friday night, a move that surprised both Republicans and Democrats and forced the Senate back into the office for a rare Saturday session. After several hours of negotiating, Democrats finally agreed to give Cruz his vote.
The vote itself was a victory — many Republicans have been begging for either the House or Senate to go on the record about Obama’s unilateral immigration decision.
This is why Cruz has few friends in the Senate. It’s not because he is a mean person, it’s because he fights hard for what is right. And few stand with him.
Cruz keeps telling the truth, and people keep calling him a liar for citing their actual words and actions:
It’s important to understand that on Washington, most of the politicians in both parties want amnesty. And that’s why they hate Cruz so much. It’s not his personality, it’s his conservatism.