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Humanitarian crisis at the border

If you are an American from Latino descent, you probably have more unique insight and empathy for the illegal immigration problem and refugee problem evident on our southern border. Both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have similar backgrounds in that regard, but so do other members of Congress in both parties. For each of the Republican presidential candidate wannabes, there is special interest and personal stake.

Refugees from Central America coming into the U.S.
Omar Torres/AFP/Getty

What America needs and want is leadership. President Obama is reacting, but not truly leading. He is guided by politics more than anything, and frankly so are Republicans.

Fresh thinking is to address the problem matter of factly.

  1. Establish the home nation as the venue for addressing the source of the problems.
  2. Send the refugees home immediately for resolution on home turf.
  3. Assist the home governments in processing the refugees and asylum seekers by helping fund and staff legal system.
  4. Work with home governments to address security and poverty issues with foreign aid.
  5. Address local government and leadership issues through diplomacy.
  6. Do not proliferate and expand the burden from the source of humanitarian crisis by assuming more refugees and immigrants.
  7. Decisively clear the backlog of 12 million current illegal immigrants before undertaking any additional burden.

Now, what does Senator Cruz have to say?

From the Politico report it isn’t clear.

Here is what Ted Cruz says:

  • “No path to citizenship for 1.65 million illegals in Texas

When discussing what to do about the 1.65 million illegal immigrants living in Texas, Cruz weaved into the Second Amendment, alleging his opponent didn't support gun rights.

"What does this have to do with the question?" Sadler asked before fiercely denying his opponent's allegation. Cruz again said he didn't support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants living in America, while Sadler said the opposite, as expected.

Source: WFAA-TV Dallas-Fort Worth on 2012 Texas Senate debate , Oct 2, 2012

  • Give police more power to ask about immigration status

Cruz accused Dewhurst of using his position as head of the Texas Senate to kill a bill last year that would have given police more power to ask anyone they detain about their citizenship status--a charge Dewhurst denied.

Both agreed that the US has failed to secure its border with Mexico, and said they oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants and the Obama administration's new directive allowing many young illegal immigrants brought to the US as children to be exempted from deportation.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle on 2012 Texas Senate debates , Jun 22, 2012
Boots on the ground, plus a wall

  • Border wall: James and Leppert oppose a wall, Dewhurst and Cruz tout "boots on the ground" and a wall in some places.

Source: on 2012 Texas Senate Debate , Apr 18, 2012

  • Triple the size of the Border Patrol

Cruz on immigration: Wants to triple size of Border Patrol. Says Dewhurst supported in-state tuition for kids of illegal immigrants.

Dewhurst: I have always been against an amnesty program. "If they want to be a citizen, they ought to go home and reapply."

Dewhurst says he was against tuition for children of illegal immigrants.
Source: KVUE coverage of 2012 Texas Senate debate , Mar 29, 2012

  • Strengthen border security and increase enforcement

Ted Cruz has worked to strengthen border security and help ensure that America remains a nation of laws. Among other efforts, he has worked on efforts to increase penalties for felons who enter the country illegally.

Ted authored a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of 10 states in Lopez v. Gonzales, urging the strictest enforcement of laws punishing those with prior felony convictions who entered the country illegally.”

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio miss the mark as much as President Obama. None are addressing the matter strategically by putting the problem back where it belongs (exclamation).

“Cruz's next fight: Immigration

By MANU RAJU and BURGESS EVERETT | 7/16/14 7:09 PM EDT Updated: 7/17/14 8:08 AM EDT

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz plans to take a hard-line stand that could rile up conservatives just as lawmakers — including two from his home state — are struggling to address the growing humanitarian crisis along the southern border.

The conservative firebrand believes that any bill to deal with the unaccompanied migrant children at the border must also include language to stop a 2012 immigration directive from President Barack Obama — a proposal unlikely to go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

That’s a much tougher approach than the one being sought by Cruz’s fellow Texans — GOP Sen. John Cornyn and Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar — who would leave the directive alone. Instead, they would toughen a 2008 human trafficking law while speeding up immigration proceedings and authorizing 40 more judges to handle the cases. The Obama administration has expressed openness to revisiting the 2008 law, and the Texans’ plan could be included in a spending measure that will soon be considered by the GOP-controlled House.

The move is vintage Cruz: stake out a staunchly conservative position on the biggest debates in Congress, whether it’s pushing to defund Obamacare at the expense of a government shutdown or now trying to end a controversial Obama policy aimed at deferring deportation proceedings for certain undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.

While plenty of Republicans would be happy to end the Obama directive, some think it’s unrealistic to tie it to an assistance package. And there’s no sign that the House, dominated by Republicans, is considering such a move.

Supporters of the effort say targeting the directive would resolve the root cause of the current crisis, but some fear that a fight over the directive could simply delay getting aid to the border.

“We should not lose sight of the fact that we have an urgent crisis on the southern border right now and we have to deal with that, I think, first,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.).

The jockeying comes as Cornyn and Cuellar are seeking to win broader support for their bipartisan deal to address the border issue. Cruz twice declined to discuss the duo’s proposal on Wednesday, referring the inquiries to his office.

Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said the senator’s “top priority” is to end the deferred action program, noting that he is drafting a legislative proposal to prohibit the White House from broadening the policy.

“We believe that needs to be a prerequisite of any bill that is considered by the Senate,” Frazier said.

Time is tight for Congress to decide how to respond to the flood of unaccompanied children before the August recess. Obama has asked lawmakers to approve nearly $4 billion in new spending to combat the crisis, a figure House Republicans are looking to trim by about half.”

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