Cruz on Border Control: 'Nothing Is More Important Than Having Boots on the Ground'

By Susan Jones | March 21, 2016 | 7:44 AM EDT

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) meets with law enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border in Douglas, Ariz., on Friday, March 18, 2016. (AP Photo)

( - We know how to solve the problem of illegal immigration, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told a gathering at the U.S.-Mexico border in Douglas, Arizona on Friday. "What's missing is the political will."

Cruz said the only way to secure the border and end illegal immigration is to put "boots on the ground" where people are coming across.

"Every rancher here describes break-ins they face as just a routine matter of living near the border," Cruz said. "You know, President Obama tells us the border's secure. Well, I invite him to move the White House down to the southern border -- let's see how secure it is."

Cruz said President Obama supports illegal immigration for partisan, political reasons.

"And he handcuffs the Border Patrol. A lot of brave men and women serving in the Border Patrol, and I'll tell you, morale in the Border Patrol could not be lower than it is now. When you have a president, when you have political operatives who oppose your basic mission, who punish you when you enforce the law, it becomes very difficult to do  your job and do it effectively," Cruz said.

"The most important tool for solving and securing the border is boots on the ground.  That's the answer every rancher here said when I asked that question. It's the answer people say in Texas -- they say all across the country...that nothing is more important than having boots on the ground."

Cruz said the Border Patrol must be able to respond rapidly -- not 30 miles inland, but right at the border, where heavily armed cartels are smuggling drugs into the country and coyotes are herding people across the border.

He said there must be "a focus on prevention, at the border, turning people around, a visible uniform presence, boots on the ground. And the federal government should not be treating state and local law enforcement as their adversaries," he added.

Later on Friday, Cruz explained to Fox News's Sean Hannity how he would solve the problem:

"We will start on day one. The very first day in office, I will rescind every single illegal and unconstitutional executive action Barack Obama has done.

"So that is day one. Going forward from there, we're going to build a wall. We're going to triple the Border Patrol. We're going to increase fourfold the fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft so we can monitor incursions. We're going to end sanctuary cities, and we're going to do that by cutting off federal money.

"We're going to put in place a strong e-verify so you cannot get a job without proving you're here legally. We'll put in place a strong biometric exit/entry system for visas, and we will end welfare benefits for those here illegally.

When it comes to the millions of illegal aliens already in the country, Cruz said he will enforce the law: "And what the laws provide is if you're here illegally, you're deported. If you or I crossed over into Mexico, they'd deport us. They'd send us back. That's what sovereign nations do...Every nation on earth enforces their immigration laws, and they expect America not to do that.

"Listen, we welcome legal immigrants, those who wait in line and follow the law. But this is a national security crisis. It's a law enforcement crisis."

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