New York Times
By Yamiche Alcindor
December 17, 2015
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas ratcheted up his attack on Senator Marco Rubio of Florida on Thursday by insinuating that Mr. Rubio had broken his promise to voters who elected him to fight “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants. Mr. Cruz also challenged his Republican rivals to declare their position on whether people who are in the country illegally should be granted citizenship.
“Marco Rubio campaigned telling the people of Florida, ‘If you elect me, I will lead the fight against amnesty,'” Mr. Cruz said. “In Texas, I campaigned telling the people of Texas, ‘If you elect me, I will lead the fight against amnesty.’ We said the exact same thing to voters. But come 2013, we made very, very different decisions. Actions speak louder than words.”
Mr. Cruz was alluding to Mr. Rubio’s sponsorship of a 2013 bill that would have given people in the country illegally a pathway to citizenship. His support of the measure has made Mr. Rubio vulnerable among some of the conservative voters being courted by both senators in their presidential bids.
During the debate here on Tuesday, Mr. Rubio and Mr. Cruz sparred over their stances on immigration and how best to deal with the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
On Thursday, Mr. Cruz cast that exchange as having laid bare Mr. Rubio’s weaknesses and highlighting his alliance with Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, over the immigration bill.
“Tuesday was very interesting because Tuesday, for the first time in five debates, Senator Rubio publicly admitted not only did he support Obama and Schumer amnesty, but he still supports amnesty and citizenship today,” Mr. Cruz said. “He avoided doing that in the first four debates. He explicitly admitted it in the last debate.”
Mr. Rubio had said in the debate that the nation’s borders must first be secured to prevent illegal immigration, and then undocumented immigrants could be allowed to stay with work permits only for at least a decade before having a path to citizenship.
Mr. Cruz on Thursday also alluded to Mr. Rubio’s claim that Mr. Cruz supported legalizing undocumented immigrants because the Texas senator had introduced an amendment that would have given them legal status, but no possibility of citizenship. Mr. Cruz has said the amendment was designed to kill the entire bill.
On Thursday, Mr. Cruz added a message for both voters and his Republican rivals.
“Let’s have a moment of simple clarity,” Mr. Cruz said. “I oppose amnesty. I oppose legalization for illegal aliens. I always have and I always will. And, I challenge every other Republican candidate to say the same thing. Or if not, then to stop making silly assertions that their records and my records on immigration are the same. It’s demonstratively false.”
Mr. Cruz also said the “Washington establishment” was spreading lies and misinformation about his record and that Americans were “fed up” with slick politicians who were inconsistent in the ideas they support. He said the nation’s security rested on the country’s ability to secure its borders.
His comments Thursday came as Mr. Cruz kicked off a weeklong tour that will include 12 rallies in 12 cities in the “Super Tuesday” states that vote March 1. The tour began at the Siena Community Center in Las Vegas with the senator speaking to a few dozen supporters.
In his speech, Mr. Cruz touched on familiar topics, saying if elected president he would repeal the Affordable Care Act; create a flat tax for all Americans; investigate Planned Parenthood’s use of fetal tissue; undo President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal; and do away with the Department of Education.
Mr. Cruz also promised to “rebuild” the military and fight terrorism, a statement which garnered loud applause.
“No longer will our fighting men and women be going into battle with both arms tied behind them,” Mr. Cruz said. “When American military forces engage, we engage to win. And, we will utterly destroy ISIS. We will have a commander in chief who makes clear that the object is not to weaken, it’s not to degrade, it is to utterly destroy. We will make clear to every militant on the face of the earth, if you go and join ISIS, if you wage jihad against America and attempt to murder innocent Americans, you are signing your death warrant.”
Mr. Cruz planned to visit St. Paul on Thursday evening. After Minnesota, he was scheduled to campaign in Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
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