Ted Cruz's presidential campaign on Tuesday released a new television spot that features men and women in business clothes traversing rivers and sprinting through scrubland in a fictionalized version of the trip thousands of migrants take from Latin America to the U.S.
Entitled "Invasion" and running in the early primary battleground state of New Hampshire, the Cruz camp says the ad hopes to make the case that the immigration in the U.S. debate "would take on a different tone if those illegally entering the country were taking the jobs of lawyers, bankers, or journalists."
"I understand that when the mainstream media covers immigration, it doesn't often see it as an economic issue. But I can tell you, it is a very personal economic issue," Cruz says in the ad. "And I will say, the politics of it would be very, very different if a bunch of lawyers or bankers were coming across the Rio Grande."
Cruz, a firebrand first-term senator from Texas who has recently seen his stock in the polls rise, is known as an immigration hardliner whose campaign recently outlined its approach to immigration if he won the presidency. The Texas lawmaker has vowed to complete 700 miles of fencing along the border, triple the Border Patrol staff, and bolster aerial surveillance, among other things.
The senator's recent immigration announcement, however, was met with scorn by Cruz's rival, billionaire businessman Donald Trump, who has argued that Cruz is copying his own proposal.
"Well, first of all, his plan just happened, OK?" Trump said during a Sunday morning interview on CBS' "Face the Nation." "In fact, I was watching the other day. And I was watching Ted talk. And he said, 'We will build a wall.' The first time I've ever heard him say it."
"And my wife, who was sitting next to me, said, 'Oh, look. He's copying what you've been saying for a long period of time.'"
Trump continued: "Ted Cruz is trying to step up his whole game on amnesty and on illegal immigration, because it was actually quite weak."
Cruz, who has so far refrained from attacking Trump during this campaign season, has instead focused his attention on fellow senator, Marco Rubio of Florida – comparing his fellow Cuban-American's immigration stance to that of President Barack Obama.
"Some choose to stand with Barack Obama and (New York senator) Chuck Schumer and support amnesty," Cruz said during the final GOP debate of 2015 in December. "And some stand by (Alabama Senator) Jeff Sessions and (Iowa congressman) Steve King and the American people."
Both Sessions and King are known for their strict stance toward illegal immigration.
"I have never supported legalization and I do not intend to support legalization." Cruz added.