While Donald Trump again drew most of the attention during Saturday night’s Republican presidential nominee debate, refusing to be intimidated by an often hostile audience and having the Bush family firmly in his sights, the issue of immigration was not forgotten by other candidates. Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz sparred over the issue and their individual records on the subject.
Rubio heated up the debate by alleging that Cruz had formerly been a supporter of offering a pathway to US citizenship for undocumented immigrants when he was in the Senate, despite now claiming to be opposed to the idea. In return, Cruz accused the Florida senator of being in favor of giving 12 million undocumented immigrants citizenship. Cruz not only reiterated his own opposition to the plan but also went further by saying he would rescind the executive action on immigration taken by President Obama.
As a contrast, Cruz went on to highlight an interview Rubio conducted in Spanish for Univision, during which he specifically stated that he would not rescind any of the executive actions the president has taken on the issue. Rubio responded by declaring: “I don’t know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn’t speak Spanish!” Unfortunately for Rubio, Cruz then responded to him in Spanish.
The divide on the issue of amnesty between the two candidates reflects the division in the whole party. Although just 32 percent of Republicans wanted undocumented immigrants deported when a Pew Research study was undertaken in fall 2015, other restrictive policies on immigration are more widely supported.