On Monday night Republican presidential candidate nominee Senator Ted Cruz hardened his stance on immigration. He said that he will see all 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the United States rounded up and removed from the country by federal immigration officials.
The comments, made in an interview with Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, came on the eve of the Nevada caucus and represent a considerably tougher attitude than he has previously displayed on the issue. “Yes, we should deport them,” Cruz declared. “We should build a wall, we should triple the Border Patrol. Federal law requires that anyone here illegally that’s apprehended should be deported.” Cruz added that that was the point of creating Immigration and Customs Enforcement to begin with.
The Texas lawmaker, who came in a disappointing third place in the South Carolina Republican primary on the weekend, has previously avoided making definitive statements on the issue of undocumented immigrants already in the United States, focusing primarily on enforcing existing immigration laws and border security. Just five weeks ago Cruz was using the media to lambast Donald Trump for the idea of rounding up undocumented immigrants, insisting that he would not “send jackboots to knock on your door and every door in America. That’s not how we enforce the law for any crime”.
Cruz’s comments have been roundly mocked by Trump, who poked fun at the Senator by noting that his tough immigration talk has only happened after his poor performance in South Carolina, accusing him of weakness on the issue and favoring amnesty for undocumented immigrants.