In Vegas, Cruz says immigration moves meant to call Dems’ bluff

LAS VEGAS Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz says an amendment he proposed to the Gang of Eight immigration bill in 2013 was not a concession toward legalization but in fact a Las Vegas-style poker move.
“We’re in Las Vegas right now, so let me use a Vegas analogy from poker. It’s called calling their bluff,” the Texas senator said Thursday, answering questions from reporters on a lawn outside a gated retirement community in Summerlin, Nev.
{mosads}”The Democrats and the establishment Republicans who supported the Gang of Eight, they claimed they were all about — they cared for the people who were here illegally,” he added.
“I introduced an amendment that made anyone here illegally permanently ineligible for citizenship. That amendment called their bluff. … By exposing the hypocrisy, by calling their bluff, we won. We defeated amnesty. We beat it.”
Cruz is now using that failed piece of legislation to bludgeon his presidential rival Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who co-authored the legislation with senior Democrats including Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.).
But Cruz’s explanation today of what he did in 2013 is different from how he explained his actions at the time.
At the time he introduced the amendment to stop illegal immigrants from ever becoming citizens, Cruz claimed he was not intent on killing immigration reform but wanted to help the 11 million people living in America illegally step out from the shadows — a phrase commonly understood as a path to legalization. 
The Texan uncharacteristically stammered in an interview Wednesday on Fox News when host Bret Baier played him with footage of what he said in 2013.
“I don’t want immigration reform to fail; I want immigration reform to pass,” Cruz said then. “And so I would urge people of good faith on both sides of the aisle, if the objective is to pass common-sense immigration reform that secures the borders, that improves legal immigration and that allows those here illegally to come out of the shadows, then we should look for areas of bipartisan agreement and compromise to come together.”
Cruz now denies he ever wanted any form of citizenship for illegal immigrants. He claims the confusion is due to collusion between the GOP establishment and the East Coast media, who he believes are desperate to prevent conservatives from coalescing around his candidacy.
“In the last 48 hours, we’ve been seeing the Washington establishment in full panic,” Cruz said Thursday.
“They’re going to try to confuse the record,” Cruz added. “The strategy that they have tried to follow, pushed on every media outlet they can, is to spread lies and misinformation.
“So let’s have a moment of simple clarity,” Cruz said. “I oppose amnesty, I oppose citizenship, I oppose legalization for illegal aliens. I always have and I always will.”
Cruz then walked into the hall of the gated community and delivered his stump speech to several hundred enthusiastic seniors.
It’s the first stop on his six-day “Take Off With Ted” tour hitting the Super Tuesday states. The Cruz campaign views these Southern states — Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Georgia and Tennessee — as crucial to building his momentum toward the nomination.
Tags Gang of Eight Ted Cruz

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