Earlier this week, we noted GOP Presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s shift from supporting a path to legal status during the 2013 immigration debate, to a far-right approach nearly identical to Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” plan now that he’s entered the 2016 election.
Cruz’s effort has mainly been to get to the right of his fellow Republican opponent Marco Rubio on immigration — the two have been at it for weeks over the issue — without quite landing in Donald Trump’s dystopian vision of mass deportation for millions of immigrants and their families.
But during a Tuesday interview with a right-wing radio host, Cruz said he’d not only replicate Trump’s massive border wall vision with the assistance of Congress’s most extreme immigration hardliners — Iowa’s Rep. Steve King and Alabama’s Sen. Jeff Sessions — he’d bring Trump in to build the thing, too.
Coincidentally (or not), King, who fancies himself the king-maker of the Iowa GOP caucus, just endorsed Cruz for President.
Would Cruz build a wall, and bring Trump into his administration to build it? “Absolutely yes, on both fronts,” Cruz said, before going on to list the specific provisions of his own plan for massive investments in border security and restricting immigrants’ movements.
“I drafted that plan working in close consultation with Senator Jeff Sessions [R-AL] and with Congressman Steve King [R-IA], two of the strongest advocates and warriors for securing the border.
The plan lays out we will build a wall that works, we will secure the border, we will triple the Border Patrol, we will increase four-fold the fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, we’ll put in place a strong biometric exit-entry system on visas, we’ll put in place strong e-verify,” Cruz said.
“We know how to solve this problem, and we will end sanctuary cities, we will end welfare for people here illegally, we will end catch-and-release, and we will deport criminal illegal aliens.”
Back in May of this year, Cruz dared to call himself a “proponent of immigration reform” during a meeting with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. But, Cruz seeking the assistance of Sessions and King places him with the most extreme of the extreme. When it comes to Sessions, he hasn’t been just an opponent of legalizing undocumented immigrants — he’s been an opponent of legal immigration, period.
(America’s Voice detailed Sessions’s anti-immigrant agenda and his long historical ties to nativist hate groups here).
And from comparing immigrants to dogs to physically manhandling a nationally-known immigration advocate, no one has been more vile than Iowa’s Steve King. It was King who wrestled controlled of the immigration debate in the House from then-Speaker John Boehner and forced several floor votes to put DREAMers and their families at risk of deportation (only time will tell if King will do the same under current Speaker Paul Ryan).
As ThinkProgress notes about Cruz: “The senator has played moderate on the stump when trying to reconcile his positions on immigration with the evangelical Christian values that motivate many otherwise-conservative Americans to oppose Trump-style deportation and border-lockdown plans.”
But, saying he’d take direction from King, Sessions, and Trump is going to make Cruz’s immigration trickery much harder to pull off.