Ted Cruz wants GOP voters to believe he’s the toughest presidential candidate on illegal immigration.
During an interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Monday the Texas senator tried to leap to the right over rivals Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida and Donald Trump on an issue that’s fast becoming a litmus test for what it means to be conservative in America.
Asked whether he’d “round up” some of the 12 million immigrants living illegally on US soil, Senator Cruz (R) of Texas danced around a bit, but said, “Yes, we should deport them … federal law requires that anyone here illegally that’s apprehended should be deported.”
That’s arguably tougher than Cruz’s previous words on the subject.
In the past he hasn’t sounded as if he’d be eager as president to actually hunt down the undocumented. In January he told CNN, “I don’t intend to send jackboots to knock on your door.”
There’s still wiggle room in his words – Cruz is a lawyer, after all. Technically it might not qualify as a flip flop on deportations.
But after that comment he veered off and tried to portray both Mr. Trump and Senator Rubio as soft on a particular immigration aspect – the path to citizenship that was part of the immigration bill Rubio backed in the Senate. Or, as many Republicans call possible citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, “amnesty.”
“Both Donald Trump and Marco Rubio would allow those 12 million people to become US citizens,” Cruz said to O’Reilly. “Donald says once he deports them he’d let them back in as citizens. I will not.”
By Peter Grier of The Christian Science Monitor
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