The Republican primary this week has been dominated by the clash between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz over the nature of an amendment Cruz offered to the Gang of Eight bill and whether, by stripping the path to citizenship from the bill Cruz was trying to kill the bill, as he claims, or to aid its passage, as Rubio claims.
The result has been an increasing focus on Cruz’s true beliefs about immigration, and whether he has changed his views to shore up his support among the party’s rightmost voters. A 2013 interview between Cruz and CBS News’s Jan Crawford may serve only to muddy the waters further.
Many have raised questions about what Cruz proposes to do with the 11 million immigrants currently in the country illegally. In the interview with Crawford, which aired about three weeks before he offered the amendment stripping the path to citizenship from the Gang of Eight bill, Cruz said, “I think there could probably be a compromise on that…if the path to citizenship was taken off the table.” (Video and transcript below.)
It wasn’t the only time Cruz made the claim. In an interview with Sean Hannity in early April of 2013, he said the path to citizenship was, on the president’s part, “designed to be a poison pill to scuttle the whole bill, so he can have a political issue in 2014 and 2016. I think that’s really unfortunate.”
According to Tyler, Cruz was responding to a “dynamic” and “changing” situation, one in which Democrats were trying to put Republicans in a “heads I win, tails you lose” situation: either they would attempt to use immigration as a political issue on the campaign trail, or they would have millions of new Democratic voters on the rolls. And that ultimately, Cruz succeeded in exposing the Gang of Eight legislation as an “amnesty bill.”