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Sen. Cruz: We Should Be Standing For Working Men and Women of This Country

Speaks on Senate floor in opposition of amnesty proposals

February 15, 2018

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today delivered remarks on the Senate floor in opposition to the immigration proposals. There, he urged his colleagues to stand with working men and women, and oppose amnesty.

“What I would urge my colleagues is very simple, ask yourselves what you told the voters before election day,” Sen. Cruz said. “Let your conduct after election day match what you told the voters. The Democrats, campaigned as the party of amnesty so they’re being true to their promises. They promised amnesty as their priority and they’re being true. But for Republicans, we promised something different. We promised to stand with the working men and women, the union members, the steel workers - the men and women with the calluses on their hands. And I urge every one of us to listen to the working men and women, and to respect the rule of law, and to vote against these misguided proposals.” 

Watch Sen. Cruz’s floor speech in its entirety here. The full text of his remarks is below:

“Mr. President, in the late 1980s Congress debated and adopted amnesty legislation for three million people here illegally. It did so promising the American people that in exchange for amnesty, the federal government would finally, finally, finally, secure the border.

“We all know what happened. That amnesty occurred and the border never got secured. At the time there were three million people living here illegally. Today estimates are there are in excess of 12 million people living here illegally. Five years ago, in 2013, this body again debated amnesty. The so-called Gang of Eight again failed to secure the border, but once again made the same promise of amnesty for millions here illegally in exchange for an ephemeral, never to come promise to secure the border. The Senate ultimately passed the Gang of Eight. As it was being voted on, Senate Democrats bragged on television. They believed they had north of 70 votes, that now was the time to pass amnesty. And yet the American people rose up and said, ‘Amnesty is not what we want. It's inconsistent with the rule of law.’ And we saw Senators at the last minute jumping ship. At the end of the day it passed with 68 votes and then went nowhere in the House of Representatives.

“So again today, we are having the same debate. I feel like Bill Murray in ‘Groundhog Day.’ Waking up, reliving the same day over, and over, and over again. And the result is the same. I don't know how the votes will occur this afternoon. It may be that nothing gets 60 votes. That's possible. But it may also be that the Senate embraces one of the various amnesty plans that is put on the table. If that is the case, it will be every bit as big of a mistake as the Gang of Eight was a mistake, as the amnesty in the 1980’s was a mistake.

“And I must say, Mr. President, I find myself flabbergasted at where my own party is in this debate. Because every proposal that has Republican support that has been submitted, begins from a place marketed to the left of that of President Obama. President Obama, as we all know, issued DACA, which was otherwise known as executive amnesty. Executive amnesty was illegal and unconstitutional. The president has no authority to refuse to enforce the law, and yet the President Obama decreed, President Obama decreed, he would not enforce federal immigration laws, and that's exactly what he did.

“At the time, virtually every Republican denounced executive amnesty as unconstitutional, as lawless, as wrong. Yet, today far too many Senate Republicans are staking out a place well to the left of President Obama and DACA on numerous axes. 

“Number one, DACA itself covered 690,000 people. 690,000, and yet, what is the proposal being considered by this body? Under the mildest of the proposals, we're considering a path to citizenship for 1.8 million people. Mr. President, why on earth would we more than double, nearly triple the DACA population? If there are 690,000 people who received illegal and unconstitutional executive amnesty, then it seems to me the most of the population that we should consider are those 690,000. The argument is made that they have relied on this promise, even though the promise was illegal, even though it was unconstitutional, the people that have relied on this promise are the 690,000, not the 1.1 million who never even applied.

“I would ask why Republicans and indeed, why Democrats are nearly tripling what President Obama did in DACA? But that is not the only regard. DACA never included citizenship. Nothing in President Obama’s DACA allows citizenship. Nothing in it allows a path to citizenship. DACA was a work permit. Nothing more than a work permit. An illegal work permit, mind you, but it did not allow citizenship. And yet today, far too many Republicans are eager to embrace the Democrats' demands that one, two, three, four, five, ten million people here illegally should be granted a path to citizenship. 

“Mr. President, that’s wrong. That is plain and simple wrong. It is unfair to the millions of working men and women. It’s unfair to the steelworkers, the truck drivers, mechanics it’s unfair to millions of working citizens, to men and women who faced stagnant wages under President Obama. It is unfair to millions of legal immigrants whose wages are driven down by those here illegally. And it is inconsistent with the promises made by virtually every Republican in this body. Mr. President, it is inconsistent with the promises made by virtually every Republican in this body. Every Republican who went out and campaigned against executive amnesty said we will not have amnesty, well, now is the time to choose. If this body chooses to grant citizenship to three two, three, four million people, those promises will have been directly broken. That is a mistake. It is wrong. Not only that, the legislation that this body is preparing to consider would not only grant citizenship, it would make those here illegally eligible for federal welfare benefits. So not only would they come here illegally, but it drives up the costs. Mr. President, every one of us has been asked by American citizens, why are we spending vast sums of money providing welfare benefits? Why would we want to do that to those here illegally?

“We are a nation of immigrants. My father came as an immigrant in 1957 with nothing. $100 in his underwear not speaking English, but he came legally. We should be embracing legal immigrants rather than excusing and condoning illegal immigration. I do not believe we should be granting citizenship to anyone here illegally. Nor should we be providing federal welfare benefits to anyone here illegally. Nor should we be expanding the pool of DACA recipients beyond that in the Obama program and yet Republicans seem eager to do so.

“It is possible that our Democratic friends will save us from this foolishness. That even though Republicans are proposing a profoundly, full hearty immigration proposal, that the Democrats will decide they want even more. There’s not enough amnesty the Democrats could take. If they do that, that will save the day for now. But if not - if this body gets 60 votes for one of these amnesty proposals - then it’s incumbent on the House to stop it. Much like with the Gang of Eight the Senate couldn’t stop it. The Senate has always unfortunately been very liberal on immigration, has been very willing to make promises to the voters and promptly come down here and vote very differently from how those promises are. But the House of Representatives, the People’s House, is designed to be responsive to the people. And so it is my hope, that House conservatives facing the people, listening to the people, will recognize we had an election in 2014 in response to the Gang of Eight. The American people said, ‘We don’t want the Gang of Eight,’ elected the largest House majority of Republicans in 70 years. Elected nine new Republicans in the Senate - retired Harry Reid as Majority Leader. And yet somehow, Republicans in this body didn’t hear the voters in 2014. We had an election in 2016 that the media was ready to call for Hillary Clinton and yet front and center in the 2016 election was the American people saying that they didn’t want amnesty.

“Mr. President, my call to my colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans is to listen to the people. There are many things that we can and should be doing; we should be passing like Kate’s Law. I authored and introduced Kate’s Law in this body, and it provides for an aggravated felon who has been repeatedly entering this country illegally who has been deported repeatedly, then that aggravated felon has a mandatory minimum prison sentence. “Kate’s Law” is named for Kate Steinle, that beautiful young woman murdered on a pier in California by an illegal alien who had been deported over, and over, again with multiple felony convictions. Had “Kate’s Law” been on the books, I believe it is very likely that Kate Steinle might still be alive. That's the sort of common sense legislation we ought to be coming together and passing, and yet the old adage those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This body made a grievous mistake in passing the Gang of Eight bill; thankfully, the House saved us from our error.

“We may be on the verge of making the same grievous mistake. It’s almost as if elections don't penetrate. We need to be listening to the voters. I don't know a single Republican not one in this body, not one in the House of Representatives who was elected on a promise ‘I will go to the left to Barack Obama on immigration.’ If one of you campaigned on that, knock yourself out, vote for this. But if you didn't say, Obama’s executive amnesty didn't go far enough, we need to double, triple the pool, we need to grant citizenship because Obama was too much of a conservative on immigration. If you didn't say that, then the only vote we told the voters is to vote no today. We can come together to find common-sense solutions on immigration, we can secure the border, we can triple the border patrol, we can end catch and release, we can implement strong E-verify, we can use strong tools and technology. We can continue to embrace and celebrate legal immigrants. We can do all of that while respecting the rule of law. 

“What I would urge my colleagues is very simple, ask yourselves what you told the voters before election day. And let your conduct after election day match what you told the voters. The Democrats, campaigned as the party of amnesty so they’re being true to their promises. They promised amnesty as their priority and they’re being true. But for Republicans, we promised something different. We promised to stand with the working men and women, the union members, the steel workers - the men and women with the calluses on their hands. And I urge every one of us to listen to the working men and women, and to respect the rule of law, and to vote against these misguided proposals.”

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