By Nick Gass
February 8, 2016
Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are "running from their heritage," says Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), a top-ranking Hispanic lawmaker and the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
In an interview with South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison out Monday, Becerra responded to a question about his feelings on how the Republican candidates, particularly the two of Latino heritage, "who have family with immigrants but yet the rhetoric that's coming from them, and their party, what are your thoughts -- again, from the Latino experience -- what are your thoughts, and how do you feel about that type of rhetoric and what's going on on that side?"
"Here's the real problem I have with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio: It feels like they're running from their heritage in my book," said Becerra, who led the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the late 1990s.
Cruz and Rubio, he continued, "don't want to say who they are."
"I'm a proud Democratic but I'm Latino before I'm Democrat. I can't erase this skin. I'm always going to be brown. I don't have to always be Democrat. If my party abandons me and my values, I can change. I can't change," he said, pointing to his hand.
Becerra then laid into both candidates' rhetoric on children seeking asylum from violence in Central American countries.
"If that child is Cuban, and makes it, puts a toe over the U.S. border, they become refugees automatically. Automatically. And they don't say anything about changing the law that gives a Cuban this extreme advantage over anyone else," he continued. "Yet they blast and they attack these immigrant families that are trying to do better for their kids. And so, you could be conservative. You could say, put up a wall. But then, make sure everyone gets behind that and can't get a special privilege just because of their particular national origin."
Emphasizing that he has "nothing against Cuban immigrants who come into the country,"
Becerra explained that he "would welcome them if they wish to work hard and make this country better."
"I'm just pointing out the real hypocrisy in immigration and to have two candidates who seem to run from who they are and make it difficult to get things done," he said.
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