The Texas senator has long been a fierce proponent of expanding legal immigration and visas for high-skilled workers, so much so that he repeatedly broke with immigration hardliners like Sen. Jeff Sessions during Senate Judiciary Committee proceedings in 2013. Now, Cruz is advocating a tough approach that would impose a temporary halt on legal immigration — a significant reversal for a senator who espoused more moderate positions on immigration in Congress than on the campaign trail.
While much of the recent scrutiny on Cruz's immigration record has been on whether he backs legalizing the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country, there is no doubt that Cruz was a staunch advocate of opening U.S. borders for those entering into the United States through the proper legal channels. He fought to allow more legal immigrants into the United States during the Senate's most consequential immigration debate since George W. Bush's presidency.
[Ted Cruz's immigration reversal, by Manu Raju, CNN, January 6, 2016]
Cruz is now trying to get to Trump's right on immigration, accusing The Donald of simply opposing illegal immigration while turning a blind eye to legal immigration. This ironically the same thing immigration patriots have long said about Ted Cruz.
But is it true? Trump's stated immigration platform is great of course. Trump also actually moved the immigration debate to the right, something Cruz never did. Cruz simply would not be taking the same positions he does now if Donald Trump hadn't been in the race.
However, Trump has seemingly forgotten his own platform before. Look for the polished Cruz to challenge Trump on immigration during the next debate. I predict Trump will fall back on his rhetoric about building a wall but then letting "the good ones" back in legally.
That may be enough for Cruz to actually move to Trump's right on immigration. The wailing and whining of the MSM in response can only help Cruz [Finding room to Trump's right on immigration, by Steve Benen, MSNBC, January 6, 2015]
Whether Cruz actually means it is a separate question, though some people who know him, like Charles C. Johnson, assure us he does. I predict Cruz will win an immigration exchange at the next debate.
However, Trump will challenge him aggressively on H1-B visas soon afterward. And one thing that can be said of Trump is that when he makes a mistake, he always recovers quickly and punches back twice as hard.
This is all to the good for immigration patriots. The momentum is moving our way, as the immigration issue is clearly driving the entire Republican primary and everyone is scrambling to take the most patriotic position.