Immigration

Anti-Immigration Senator: Ted Cruz Killed Bipartisan Immigration Reform

CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) in 2009

After days of struggling to explain his inconsistent record and rhetoric on immigration, GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz got a strong endorsement of his anti-immigration bona fides on Saturday.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who previously blasted his own party’s immigration reform principals as an “extraordinary act of self-sabotage” and suggested allowing too many immigrants into the U.S. could create cultural problems, appeared at campaign a rally in Daphne, Alabama, with Cruz and made it clear that Cruz shared his strong opposition to bipartisan immigration reform.

At Tuesday’s GOP debate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) attacked Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for being inconsistent in his opposition to a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. But Sessions dismissed these criticisms, crediting Cruz for being the reason bipartisan reform did not happen — though it was the House GOP leadership that blocked the bill.

“Ted Cruz was with me, Steve King, Mike Lee and others who were opposed to this bill. Don’t let anyone tell you differently,” Sessions said of the 2013 Senate immigration reform plan which Rubio once helped write and later disowned. That legislation passed the Senate by a 68 to 32 supermajority, but was never brought up for a vote in the House by then-Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Regardless of whether Cruz deserves credit for the bill’s failure, without it an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants remain in the United States with no path to legalization or citizenship — and proposed border security expansion did not happen.