An immigration reduction advocacy organization says it latest report card on the GOP presidential candidates should offer some clarity for voters where there's been confusion.
At last week's GOP presidential debate in Las Vegas, it became clear that the 2016 Republican nomination could very well come down to a battle between two Cuban Americans: Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. For many, the defining difference between the two senators is their stance on immigration.
Numbers USA has recently updated its "Worker-Protection Immigration Grade Cards" for all presidential candidates. Cruz now receives an "A-minus" grade – the same as his rival, Donald Trump. Only Rick Santorum, who poll numbers remain in the low single digits, scores higher with an "A." All three Democratic candidates – along with GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, who suspended his campaign Monday morning – have "F" grades.
Roy Beck, founder and president of Numbers USA, contends that the Texas senator's rise in the polls can be at least partly due to his much improved stances on border enforcement.
"Back last spring [Cruz] was around a C or C-minus, and I think that would have been a bad signal to people if he had stayed there," Beck explains. "I think that his improvement on immigration has been one of those elements that has been very important for him to move up [in the polls]."
In Beck's opinion, if voters had perceived that Cruz had a weak immigration record, it could have stunted his ascendancy. But he also feels Cruz can thank Trump for putting immigration on the map. "People who decided that they didn't want to go with Trump or another conservative [candidate] started looking at Cruz," he remarks.
In contrast, Beck says conservative voters shouldn't be fooled by Rubio when it comes to border enforcement. He says the Florida senator still receives a D – and that despite numerous media appearances, Rubio has done little to convince him he's serious about border enforcement following his participation in the "Gang of 8" amnesty bill in 2013.
"If he were to come out and truly state I want immigration to be good for American workers and here's how, we could begin to forgive him for what he did in 2013," the Numbers USA president offers. "But at this point, I think we have to understand he is the establishment, corporate Republican candidate who so far appears to have promised his cooperate donors that he will continue to work to expand immigration, to expand foreign workers competing with American workers."
Beck says the battle between Rubio and Cruz has come down to a battle between two factions in the GOP: Rubio's establishment pro-foreign worker and Cruz's pro-American wage-earner.
Fox News challenges Cruz
The day after the GOP debate, Fox News challenged Senator Cruz on his immigration stance and his role in the failed 2013 amnesty bill pushed by Senator Rubio and the other members of the "Gang of 8." During the debate, Cruz denied that he has ever supported amnesty for illegal aliens. But Bret Baier of Fox News played this 2013 comment from Cruz:
"If the objective is to pass common-sense immigration reform that secures the borders, that improves legal immigration and that allows those who are here illegally to come in out of the shadows, then we should look for areas of bipartisan agreement and compromise to come together."
Cruz responded to Baier, saying the comment wasn't an endorsement for amnesty but had to do with his amendment to the bill that would have permanently denied illegal immigrants the right to citizenship.
Sandy Rios, director of governmental affairs at the American Family Association, argues the comment was taken out of context.
"...I believe by Fox [did that] to try to make it seem as though Ted Cruz supports amnesty – but he does not; he never has," she states. "He was one of the fiercest opponents on that Gang of 8 bill that Marco Rubio supported. Ted Cruz has been very clear about where he stands."
In contrast, Rios says Rubio is someone who most assuredly has embraced amnesty for illegal aliens.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.
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