While two of the three Latino senators have been busy drafting a bipartisan immigration reform plan, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the third Latino senator, hasn’t shown any signs that he is backing down from his tough stance on immigration. In fact, he could be positioning himself to lead the GOP push against immigration reform.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are among the eight senators who unveiled on Monday the framework for an immigration reform proposal that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The bipartisan group drafted the proposal during several meetings that took place following the November election.
Cruz, who is a Tea Party favorite and of Cuban descent, seems to be at odds on immigration with his Latino Senate colleagues.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Cruz said the proposal included “some good elements,” such as “increasing the resources and manpower to secure our border” as well as “improving and streamlining legal immigration.”
“However, I have deep concerns with the proposed path to citizenship,” he stated. “To allow those who came here illegally to be placed on such a path is both inconsistent with the rule of law and profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who waited years, if not decades, to come to America legally.”
Cruz is known to be a vocal opponent of legislation that would give benefits, such as citizenship, to undocumented immigrants. During his bid for Senate last year, he strongly favored securing the border and denounced Obama’s deferred action program for undocumented youth. He also opposed the DREAM Act, legislation that would pave a path to citizenship for certain undocumented young immigrants.
“Ted Cruz has worked to strengthen border security and help ensure that America remains a nation of laws,” his campaign website reads.
Ted Cruz discusses immigration with conservative Republicans
Now, in his first term in office, Cruz has been seen aligning himself with members of the GOP who oppose legalizing undocumented immigrants. Last week, he attended a private meeting with conservative Republicans from the House and Senate to strategize on immigration.
The private gathering was held Wednesday in the office of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). It came two days before news broke about President Barack Obama heading to Nevada on Tuesday to unveil his plan for immigration reform. The president’s proposal is said to include a path to citizenship for some of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
Cruz has been tightlipped on the details of the private meeting.
However, Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), who was among the attendees, told the National Journal on Sunday that the meeting was held to “touch base” on the issue of immigration. He said there was “no game plan” as to how they would respond to Obama’s immigration reform proposal.
“It’s hard to mobilize against a plan that you don’t know what the plan is,” Boozman told the National Journal.
It’s unclear what Cruz’s role was in the meeting. However, if he decides to join the conservative group of Republicans in advocating for border enforcement and opposing legalization of undocumented immigrants, he will be in disagreement with Menendez and Rubio. He could also become one of the leading Republicans in the plight against immigration reform.