Marco Rubio and the GOP establishment are waging a campaign to muddy the waters when it comes to differentiating between him and Ted Cruz on the subject of illegal immigration and amnesty.
Rubio knows very well that his efforts to promote amnesty for millions of illegal aliens via the controversial Gang of Eight bill just two short years ago are going to hurt his chances for election. Even though he claims that he has seen the error of his ways, few people actually believe that he feels any differently today than he did in 2013.
As a result, his camp has come up with the strategy to pull Ted Cruz down with him by saying that Cruz’s amendment to the Gang of Eight bill amounted to support for amnesty, or at the very least a path to legal status.
In truth, Cruz’s amendment actually stripped amnesty out of the bill. It was what is known as a ‘poison pill’ amendment — an amendment meant to weaken a bill’s intended effect and ruin its chances for passing.
Senator Jeff Sessions felt compelled to address the controversy and the accusation that Cruz supports amnesty for illegal aliens. In a recent speech, Sessions told the story of the Gang of Eight bill, of back room deals and secret meetings with special interest groups, activist groups like La Raza, and business groups that wanted cheap labor.
He reminded the crowd of how the bill very nearly was passed into law, but the Cruz amendment was the only thing that saved the country from this disastrous law.
“I’ve got to tell you, it was a tense, tough battle. The toughest, most exciting exchange that I think that occurred was Ted Cruz and Chuck Schumer over citizenship. One of the few times I’ve ever seen Schumer — who is very talented — actually be flummoxed a bit. He almost got to the point of accusing Ted of being anti-hispanic. I kid you not. But it was clear, that was the central determining essence one of the things they wanted was citizenship for people who came here illegally.
“It makes no sense. You cannot provide to somebody who enters the country illegally every benefit to somebody who comes legally. Surely citizenship, the capstone of what America gives ought not to be given to people who entered the country in violation of our very laws.
“I believe without the vigorous opposition of Ted Cruz, this bill likely would have passed. So we need to thank him for that.
And I will say this one more time, they’re not through. They’re determined. They’ve got money, interest groups, power, media to support this agenda. And the next president who gets elected is going to determine what kind of immigration system we have.
“And we want a lawful system. That’s all the American people are asking for. A lawful system of immigration that serves their interests. American people are not against immigrants. They don’t hate immigrants. They don’t believe we should have no immigration in America. But they want a lawful system, a smart system. That people apply, and they wait their turn. And they get in, and some don’t get in. And our national security is protected. And our jobs and wages are protected.
“So, Ted Cruz was with me, Steve King, and Mike Lee and others who opposed this bill. And don’t let anybody tell you different. And it was critical to the success that we’ve had.”
What do you think about the controversy concerning Cruz and illegal immigration? Do you believe that his amendment amounted to support or do you believe that he meant it to be a poison pill?