Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) cast the lone vote against bringing a House bill to the Senate floor to being the debate on immigration reform. Senators voted 97-1 in favor of moving the bill forward for discussion.
Senator Cruz took the stand based on a long-held belief that there should not be a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Cruz’ spokesperson, Catherine Frazier told The Hill that the senator “believes it would be a serious mistake for Congress to pass legislation that grants a path to citizenship for those here illegally.”
“Such a policy is inconsistent with the promises that he and Republicans have made to the voters, and is in fact further to the left of President Obama’s position,” Frazier explained.
Despite Cruz’ vote on principle, the House bill which will be used as a vehicle for Senate debate will move forward. Debate is expected to begin on Tuesday.
A group of senators brought forward a plan by President Donald Trump that provides an estimated 1.8 illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children a pathway to citizenship. In exchange from the dramatic departure on policy, President Trump seeks $25 billion in border security and other changes to the U.S. immigration system. Those changes could include an end to the visa lottery system and chain migration.
In order to for the bill to move forward in the Senate, at least nine Democrat senators would have to join with all 51 Republicans to create a 60-vote majority. Senator Cruz has already indicated his no-vote and it is likely that other Republicans might not support the measure.
There is no indication if Democrat senators will accept the border security funding and changes in immigration policy to obtain the long-sought amnesty for the so-called “Dreamers.”
Senator Cruz faces a re-election challenge from U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX).
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa told the Houston Chronicle that Cruz’ vote was “Sinvergüenza,” Spanish for “shameless.”
“The only no vote to begin debate on immigration was the Cuban that was born in Canada,” Hinojosa stated.
A House proposal calls for a 3-year renewal to President Barack Obama’s DACA status for the children of illegal immigrants. It stops short of a pathway to citizenship.