The night after the final GOP debate of 2015, Ted Cruz was interviewed by Bret Baier, the anchor for Fox New Special Report. The interview isn’t something that Sen. Cruz will highlight. During the interview, Baier brought up the subject of legalization within the context of immigration. Sen. Cruz’s position during this campaign has consistently been that he’s the only politician on stage who’s never supported amnesty.
After last night’s debate, Fox News played a clip of Sen. Cruz talking in a committee hearing about legalization without giving illegal aliens a pathway to citizenship, which, in the eyes of conservative voters is amnesty. It started when Baier said “One of the big back-and-forth moments between you and Sen. Marco Rubio was on immigration. Many people said that you scored some points against Marco Rubio there. You also said, though, and it’s been checked today, at the debate that you denied that you’d ever supported legal status for undocumented workers. You said ‘I’ve never supported legalization. I do not intend to support it.'”
Baier then showed a clip in which Sen. Cruz supported an amendment that would have given illegal aliens legal status. Baier said “that amendment would have allowed undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States permanently and obtain legal status. How do you square that circle?” What happened next hurt Sen. Cruz’s credibility.
SEN. CRUZ: Actually, Bret, it wouldn’t have. What was happening there was that was the battle over the Gang of Eight Rubio-Schumer amnesty bill, which was a massive amnesty bill proposed by Sen. Rubio and Chuck Schumer and supported by President Obama and I was leading the fight against amnesty.
Here’s what Baier said the next time he interrupted:
That’s not what you said at the time. Yahoo dug up these quotes from the time. You said “if this amendment were to pass, the chance of this bill passing into law would increase dramatically.”
It sounded like you wanted this bill to pass.
The simple truth is that Sen. Cruz supported legalization of illegal aliens. Lots of Republicans who didn’t support the Gang of Eight bill but wanted immigration reform to pass were in the legal status camp. Sen. Cruz’s transformation appears to have happened this summer, which means he’s a campaign trail purist.
This isn’t the first time Sen. Cruz was questioned about his support for the legalization amendment. Here’s what he said in May, 2013:
Cruz replied, “The amendment I introduced affected only citizenship; it did not affect the underlying legalization in the Gang of Eight bill.”
That’s straight from Sen. Cruz. That’s how to politically hang yourself with your own rope. The only question left is whether he was lying then or lying now.