For Latino Republicans who have known Ted Cruz over the last 15 years, the candidate stumping across the country on an anti-immigration platform is not the rising talent they once worked with on the George W. Bush campaign, in the Bush administration, and then as Texas Solicitor General.
The Ted Cruz of those years was a whip-smart and audaciously ambitious lawyer who lent his considerable intellectual heft to the policies many Latino Republicans cared most about, including immigration reform. But during a CNN debate in December, as Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio clashed over Cruz’s past positions on offering legal status to undocumented immigrants, Cruz said definitively, “I’ve never supported legalization, I do not intend to support it.”
Weeks later, Cruz doubled down, explaining to Fox News’ Bret Baier that he tried to amend to the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” comprehensive immigration reform bill not to pass it, but to doom it to defeat. “Bret, you’ve been around Washington long enough, you know how to defeat bad legislation.”