Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said at a Thursday press conference that a fig leaf amendment from Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) that does not secure the border before granting America’s illegal immigrants amnesty, and the bill as a whole, does not solve the fundamental flaws in America’s immigration system and urged his colleagues to vote them down.
Cruz first brought up the 1986 amnesty, and detailed how it was a failure.
“In 1986, Congress offered the American people a deal,” Cruz said. “They said we will grant immediate amnesty to some 3 million people who were here illegally. And, in exchange for that, ‘we’re going to secure the borders. We’re going to fix the problem of illegal immigration.’ Congress told the American people illegal immigration will go away as a result of this deal. What we saw in 1986 was the amnesty occurred, and yet the border never got secured. And here we are, three decades later, and instead of 3 million people here illegally, there’s some 11 million people here illegally.”
Cruz went on to explain how the Gang of Eight bill “repeats the exact same pattern of 1986.”
“The amendment that has been proposed today does the same thing,” Cruz said. “It starts with legalization and it promises border security some time in the future. Like the famed character wimpy from Popeye, ‘I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.’”
Cruz said the American people know that if the Gang of Eight bill becomes law, “the legalization and the amnesty will happen” first.
“But we also know from past experience, is the border security won’t,” Cruz said. “With promises as some distant day in the future, we’ve seen have not been delivered upon. As Yogi Berra liked to put it, ‘it’s Déjà vu all over again.’ I think the American people want a solution to this problem. If you get outside of Washington, D.C., there are overwhelming bipartisan majorities who want to see the border secured first before any legalization of those who are here illegally, who want to see legal immigration improved and streamlined. There is no more enthusiastic advocate of legal immigration in the U.S. Senate than I am. There are overwhelming majorities of Republicans, of independents, of Democrats, in all 50 states who want to see border security first. This is the same mistake we saw in 1986.”
Cruz went on to say that the Gang of Eight and Senate Democratic Party leadership have only been playing games with the American people on this issue, and the entire process thus far has been nothing but a theater show.
“Washington is very, very good at Kabuki theater,” Cruz said. “A great many things in this town are stage-managed. From the outset, in my opinion, it was clear that the managers of this bill were going to, near the end of the Senate process, allow an amendment that would at least purport to increase border security, that would be a fig leaf and allow everyone to say ‘Hosanna! Hosanna! The border has been secured! Now let’s all come on board with this gigantic bill.’”
Cruz added that “seeing an amendment today that does that is not surprise to anyone who’s been watching this process unfold.”