Cruz, embarking on cross-country tour, continues assault of Rubio over immigration
In his ongoing effort to create distance between their rival candidacies, Sen. Ted Cruz again attacked Sen. Marco Rubio on Thursday over his past support of an immigration proposal that would have granted a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally.
Speaking to reporters here on the lush, sprawling lawn of a palm-tree-dotted golf club, Cruz noted that Rubio, after largely avoiding the topic of immigration in debates, finally had to confront the issue this week at the Republican presidential candidates’ final gathering of the year.
“For the first time in five debates, Sen. Rubio publicly admitted he supports amnesty,” Cruz said, noting Rubio’s concession that he supports allowing some immigrants to apply for work permits and then, after 10 years, allowing them to apply for citizenship.
“He still supports amnesty and citizenship to this day,” said Cruz, who opposed a 2013 bill calling for a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system. Rubio was one of eight senators who helped craft the proposal before backing away from it once it became clear the bill would not be approved.
Surveys of Republican primary voters have shown they strongly oppose granting citizenship to those in the country illegally.
Cruz’s visit here was the first stop on a six-day cross-country tour that also takes him through several Southern states set to hold March 1 contests. Cruz, who has strong evangelical support in the early-nominating states of Iowa and South Carolina, hopes that translates into votes as the GOP primary heads into the South, including Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, which have large swaths of Christian conservatives.