Cruz: No Citizenship for Those Who Are Here Illegally

Susan Jones | February 26, 2016 | 6:12am EST
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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, at the Republican presidential primary debate at The University of Houston, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

( - Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says he opposes any kind of amnesty for people who enter the United States illegally.

"Listen, we have always welcomed legal immigrants, but I think it is a mistake to forgive those who break the law to allow them to become U.S. citizens, and that's why I've led the fight against granting citizenship to those here illegally, and that's why I will do the same thing as president."

Cruz said the "forgotten" element in the immigration debate is "the hardworking men and women of this country -- our millions of Americans who are losing their jobs -- million of legal immigrants who are losing their jobs, are seeing their wages driven down."

Cruz pointed to a Wall Street Journal article describing what happened when Arizona passed laws cracking down on illegal immigration, forcing illegal aliens to flee the state:

"Some of the business owners complained that the wages they had to pay workers went up, and from their perspective that was a bad thing. But what the state of Arizona has seen is the dollars they're spending on welfare, on prisons, and education, all of those have dropped by hundreds of millions of dollars.

"And, the Americans, and for that matter, the legal immigrants who are in Arizona, are seeing unemployment drop are seeing wages rise. That's who we need to be fighting for."

Sen. Marco Rubio said he would secure the border before doing anything else on immigration.

"We are going to secure the border. And that's not just the physical border with Mexico, it's visa overstays. That's 45 percent of the problem right there.

Rubio advocates e-verify for job applicants and an entry-exit tracking system for foreign visitors to the United States.

"And until that happens, we're not doing anything else. And then we'll see what the American people are willing to support," he said -- indicating wiggle room on eventual legal status.

Rubio, as a member of the Senate "gang of eight," has previously supported a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens.

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