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Interview: Senator Cruz on the Amnesty Bill

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We'd like to welcome to the program for the first time, freshman Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, who wants to weigh in on a number of things, including the Gang of Eight immigration bill.  Senator, welcome.  It's great to have you here, sir.

CRUZ:  Rush, it's great to be with you.  Thank you for your clarion voice for liberty every single day.

RUSH:  Thank you, sir.  We had a great interview with Senator Cruz in The Limbaugh Letter not long ago so I have spoken to him on a previous occasion and, sir, you're the real deal.  You're fearless. You're a freshman. You're acting like you've been there three terms.

CRUZ:  Well, as you know, a lot of Americans are fed up. They're fed up with Democrats and they're fed up with Republicans. They're fed up with politicians in Washington who don't stand for anything.  And it's how we've gotten in this mess. It's how we've gotten $17 trillion in debt, and, if we keep doing business as usual, it's how we're gonna pass yet another amnesty bill that doesn't fix the problem. And I think Americans are really fed up with that and we need to stand up and stop it.

RUSH:  Would you explain to people why this is amnesty?  Because Congressman Ryan says he'll debate anybody that says it's amnesty, tell 'em it's not.  The gang says it's not amnesty. They say it's a pathway out of the shadows and to citizenship, but you call it amnesty.  Why is it amnesty?

CRUZ:  This Gang of Eight bill is a disaster.  It is the exact same thing we saw in 1986.  The last big immigration reform was in 1986, and the federal government told the American people, we're gonna grant amnesty for the three million people who are here illegally.  And in exchange for that we're actually gonna secure the borders. We're gonna solve illegal immigration, and the problem is gonna go away.  Now, we saw what happened.  The amnesty happened, the borders never got secured, and now three decades later, instead of three million people, it's 11 million people.

RUSH:  Is it 11 or is it -- do we really know how many it is?

CRUZ:  We don't know.  I mean, the estimates vary, 11 million, 12 million. We don't have an exact number, but it is three to four times bigger than what it was in 1986, and we're hearing the exact same empty promises.  What the Gang of Eight bill does is it grants legalization now. It takes everyone who's here illegally and says, "You're legal," and then, just like in 1986, it promises, "sometime in the future, trust us, wink-wink, we'll secure the border."  I don't think the American people are that foolish.  You know, fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  If this bill is enacted, it will make the problem worse.  If this bill is enacted, in another decade or two we're gonna be back here not with 11 million, but with 20 million or 30 million people here illegally.  This is a broken system.  I think what Americans want is to fix the problem, stop playing political games, actually secure the border and make a legal immigration system that works.

RUSH:  Senator, you've been, obviously, observing and commenting on political life in America for a long time.  You've been in the Senate now for six months.  Could you explain to me and people in this audience, why do the Democrats want this, and why do the Republicans who support this want it?

CRUZ:  Well, the Democrats want this for pure politics.  Chuck Schumer was very candid in the Senate Judiciary Committee when he said, "If there is no citizenship, there can be no reform."  This is all about their endeavor. They want to grant amnesty, and they hope to get a lot more Democratic voters, or they want this to be voted down and use it as a political issue in 2014 and 2016. 

On the Republican side, sadly, a lot of the support of it is political as well.  You know, after 2012, all of the Washington political consultants and all the mainstream media came to Republicans and said, "You've got to do better with Hispanics, and the way to do better with Hispanics is to embrace amnesty."  And, look, a lot of Republicans in Washington were scared.  I gotta tell you, I think that political argument is complete nonsense.  If you look at the last time we enacted amnesty in 1986, the next election was 1988, the Republican share of the Hispanic vote went down.  It is not the case -- Hispanics are not the single-issue, monolithic voters.

My dad was an immigrant from Cuba with nothing.  And many Hispanics believe in rule of law, and you've got a bunch of Republican longtime officeholders in Washington who are scared and listening to the consultants.  Let me tell you an interesting poll number.  In Texas, Rush, we polled Hispanic voters in Texas and asked them, "Number one, do you support more border security?"  Sixty-eight percent of Hispanic voters in Texas support more border security.  But the second question is even more revealing.  Hispanic voters we asked, "Do you support a pathway to citizenship or work permits that do not allow citizenship?"  And a plurality, 46% of Hispanic voters in Texas supported a work permit without citizenship and only 35% supported a pathway to citizenship.  This is a crock that is being sold to Republican politicians that they can just buy off Hispanics, and frankly it's offensive, but it's being sold as pure politics.

RUSH:  We're talking to Senator Ted Cruz from Texas about the Gang of Eight's immigration bill.  Senator Graham was on TV Sunday, basically said that we need to do this, just as you said, to get back in the good graces of the Hispanic community.  And I think you're right, the consultants are telling Republicans -- you know, you can tell somebody anything.  The fact they believe this is what's frightening to me.  Because where does this stop, Senator?  If, for example, we gotta get back in the good graces of Hispanics, therefore we have to support amnesty and throw out what we believe, then what's next for abortion?  What's next for gay marriage?  What's next for anything that we disagree with the Democrats on?  Well, the gays don't like you Republicans, and you'd better sign on to gay marriage or you're never gonna get their support.  I mean, it's the same line of thinking and it has no end to it unless you play it all the way out and the Republican Party ceases to exist.

CRUZ:  Rush, you're exactly right.  These same consultants advise on every one of those issues that Republicans give up our principles and become Democrats.  You know, I'm always amused when the New York Times writes editorials trying to be helpful to Republicans and say, "This is the way Republicans can save themselves."  Look, the New York Times disagrees with us.  They're entitled to disagree with us, but it's not like we should take their advice.

RUSH:  Well, they don't want to save us.

CRUZ:  That's exactly right.  They want to destroy us.  And this advice, you know, it's interesting.  You've got a number of politicians who are listening to it who have not heretofore gotten significant support in the Hispanic community.  In my race in Texas, Texas is a majority minority state.  Over 40% of the Hispanics in Texas voted for me in the Senate race.  And I was very clear in the race from day one in opposing amnesty and supporting border security and in improving legal immigration.  I mean, look, there is no more an enthusiastic advocate of legal immigration in the US Senate than I am, and that is a message that resonates powerfully in the Hispanic community. 

Now, it doesn't resonate with the Democratic political operatives, many of whom were on the advocacy groups.  It doesn't resonate with the Democrat elected officials who just want to win elections.  But with the Hispanic voters, supporting border security, supporting legal immigration, supporting rule of law is a principled position.  And I gotta tell you, we're in a perilous situation right now, Rush.  There are probably 20 Republican senators in the US Senate who are on the fence, who are wobbling on this issue and not sure of how to vote.  The proponents of the Gang of Eight are publicly talking about that they think they can get 70 votes in the Senate and then use that to bludgeon the House into adopting this legalization-first-and-never-secure-the-border approach.  And so there is something every one of your listeners can do, and the time is now, it is right now this fight will be decided.  I would urge every one of your listeners to do two things.  Number one, come to a website we formed: SecureBordersNow.com, and sign a national petition.

RUSH:  Okay, that website is now officially shut down for awhile.

CRUZ:  Excellent.  But number two, every one of your listeners, I would encourage them, pick up the phone and call your Senator and call your House member.

RUSH:  Does that really work on something like this?

CRUZ:  It works tremendously.  It is amazing what hearing from the grassroots can do.  The reason President Obama's gun control proposals were killed, his proposals to undermine the Second Amendment, is because hundreds of thousands of Americans began slamming the phone lines, and all of the Senators that were leaning towards supporting it suddenly said, "Holy cow, the folks back home don't like this."  I mean, Washington is a bubble, and there is nothing more powerful than the conservative grassroots when we are engaged and letting our voice be heard.

RUSH:  Senator, I've gotta take a break. I know when we talked that we allotted time for you for the first segment, but if you want to continue, we've got time here.  I just have to take a brief break.  I'm not trying to pressure you.  I don't know what your schedule is, but I would love to get your take on the CBO report on this, if you have time.

CRUZ:  I am happy to visit further.

RUSH:  Okay, we'll be right back after this with Senator Ted Cruz from Texas.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  We're back with Senator Ted Cruz from Texas.  The CBO report. Depending on how you look at this, it's either wonderful or disastrous.  One contention is that the immigration bill is gonna really, really reduce the deficit, Senator -- and it's gonna really, really cause economic growth with all of these new employees.  Then if you look at the numbers they're talking about, by 2033, it's 46 million illegals that will be granted citizenship. But they're all gonna be -- are they not, most of them -- low-skilled and lower-educated type people?

CRUZ:  Well, you know, if there's one thing Washington knows how to do, it's come up with bogus cost estimates.  I mean, we all remember when Obamacare was passed and we were told it would save money, and we've now discovered that it's gonna cost trillions, and it's only getting worse.  You know, the CBO figures just focus on the immediate, short-term impact and not the long-term impact, and they just focus on the federal level. 

So, for example, the proponents of the Gang of Eight say that no one who is here illegally will be eligible for welfare.  In the Judiciary Committee, I submitted an amendment -- a very simple sentiment, just a couple of sentences -- that said, "No one who is here illegally shall be eligible for any means-tested welfare federal, state, or local."  Every Democrat on the committee and the Republican members of the Gang of Eight all voted against it.

RUSH:  Yes!  Exactly!

CRUZ:  It was very clarifying.  When they go and say, "There's no welfare," why do they vote against a provision that would make it clear?  There are a couple of reasons.  Number one: In any given year we spend roughly $700 billion in federal welfare payments, roughly $300 billion in state welfare payments.  If the Gang of Eight bill is passed, the effect would be to immediately take a very large percentage of those 11 million people here illegally and make them eligible for state and local welfare.  I mean, tens of billions, if not hundreds of billions of dollars on the states immediately. 

And then the Gang of Eight bill provides that those here illegally in a few years are eligible for green cards and citizenship, in which case they're eligible for the full panoply of federal welfare benefits.  Now, I think we should welcome immigrants from across the globe, but you cannot welcome immigrants with a full welfare state where the incentive is to be dependent on government.  We want people coming here who want to achieve the American dream -- and this system, this bill I think would have an enormous cost on the state treasury and also the federal Treasury.

RUSH:  That's one of the many things missing is the assimilation to a distinct and unique American culture.  We're Balkanizing in this country now. People are coming from wherever, and they're staying in those cultures in pockets in population centers across the country.  You know, the romantic days of immigration in the early 1900s, those people came here and they maintained their identity, kept their identity. But they wanted to be Americans. They wanted to participate in whatever they thought the American dream was. 

CRUZ: Right.

RUSH: And that's a distinction that can be drawn today.

CRUZ:  We are all the children of those who risked everything for freedom.  I think that's what unites us as Americans.  I'll tell you another impact of this Gang of Eight bill that very few people have focused on, which is: If this bill passes, it effectively sets up affirmative action, a strong preference in hiring for those who are here illegally.

RUSH:  We've talked about that, because they are gonna be exempt for a while from benefits, Obamacare, and welfare benefits, right? So they're cheaper. They're more attractive.

CRUZ:  Especially Obamacare.  They're exempted from Obamacare, so if you're a small business owner, if you hire an American, or if you hire a legal immigrant, you're subject to a $2,000 fine per employee if you're not providing health care under Obamacare. Where suddenly the 11 million who are granted legalization, it doesn't cost you that.  It's a massive economic incentive for employers to not hire Americans -- or to fire Americans -- in favor of those who are here illegally.  And that doesn't make any sense.

RUSH:  Senator, is it true what is said, that the people we're talking about now, the 11 million -- if the Gang of Eight bill is passed and signed into law -- won't be able to vote for 13 years, whatever it is? Is that true? Is that what I'm given to understand? They can't vote in addition to everything else?

CRUZ:  I mean, that's the current delay to become citizens, although actually for certain categories, it's accelerated faster than that.

RUSH:  Yeah, but you don't expect that hold up, do you?  I mean, within a day or two, Senator Schumer's gonna find a camera and talk about how discriminatory it is. "Here we've just granted these people status! We've just allowed them to come out of the shadows, and it's just unconscionable now that we don't let them vote," and so a whole new amendment might be made to eliminate the 13 years.  Is stuff like that possible, because I don't blame people who have a cynical view like that.

CRUZ:  You're absolutely right.  That is certainly coming.  It's why I've introduced a number of amendments to try to fix this mess.  One amendment that I've talked about today on the floor of the Senate is an amendment to put real teeth in border security -- this bill has no teeth in border security -- to triple the border patrol, to increase fourfold the helicopters, fixed-wing assets, technology on the border, to put in place a strong biometric exit-entry system.

RUSH:  Those were all voted down?

CRUZ:  They have been, and critically, the most important piece is to say, "Secure the border first, before any legalization."  What this bill gets most fundamentally wrong is it starts with legalization, and then it promises like Wimpy in Popeye, "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."  It promises border security sometime in the future.  And we all know the border security ain't never gonna come, but the legalization happens immediately.

RUSH:  Senator, the CBO report also has this nugget.  They claim, the CBO says that illegal immigration would continue at the level of 75% of current levels. Even with the passage of the bill, without the border security, you're still gonna have 75% influx of what we have now.

CRUZ:  Well, and I can tell you what we're seeing right now. We are seeing a massive spike in illegal immigration this past year, and this has happened every time amnesty is discussed.  Look, people respond to incentives.  If you're in a foreign country and you want to be an American, and you hear, "Hey, they're getting ready to do amnesty," it's a huge incentive to come here illegally. One of the real tragedies of our system is that you've got hundreds of thousands of men and women entrusting themselves to coyotes, to drug dealers. And every year there are hundreds of women and children who die in the desert, who are sexually assaulted, who are trafficked.  I mean, it is a grotesque and inhumane system, and this Gang of Eight bill, if it passes, would increase illegal immigration.

RUSH:  One quick question before we go.  I noticed or I read the other day that the majority leader, Senator Reid, now seems intent on hurrying up and getting this bill passed by the Fourth of July break.  Why?

CRUZ:  I think... Look, I certainly wouldn't presume to speak for Harry Reid.  But I think he's starting to get nervous, and I think he's starting to get nervous because the American people are starting to pay attention.  In 2007, the American people realized there was a proposal to grant legalization first before securing the border. They spoke up loudly. They picked up the phones, they called their senators, they called their House members, and they said, "No, we don't want legalization first, then border security," and it killed it. 

I think Harry Reid is getting nervous.  He thinks he has the votes right now.  And as I said, there are probably 20 Republican senators on the fence, and the biggest difference your listeners can make is today, tomorrow, the next day, picking up the phone and letting your elected representatives know, "Don't go down this road."  It is politically foolish, and as a policy matter, it would be terrible to the country.  It doesn't fix the problem.  We need to fix the problem, secure the borders, and improve legal immigration.

RUSH:  Senator Ted Cruz from Texas.  I really appreciate your time, Senator.  Thanks for giving us a half hour today.  It's great, and we wish you the best in your endeavors.

CRUZ:  God bless you, Rush, and always keep speaking the truth.  The more rocks they throw at you, the more good you're doing.

RUSH: (chuckling) Thank you, sir.  Thank you very much.  I appreciate that.  Once again, that's Senator Ted Cruz from Texas weighing in on the status of the immigration bill, the Gang of Eight bill, and what he thinks the true impetus behind this is.  That is an interesting nugget.  The CBO -- in all of this scoring, in all of this economic data that they're projecting -- says that even with the passage of the bill, illegal immigration will continue at a rate of 75% of current levels.

END TRANSCRIPT

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