Sen. Cruz: Current immigration bill is a 'mess'

Texas lawmaker on 'Gang of 8' plan


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 21, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BOLLING, GUEST HOST: Think a border deal will seal the deal for the "Gang of Eight's" immigration bill? Well, not if Senator Ted Cruz has his way. Let's just say his battle to kill a bill just getting started.

The Texas Republican with me now.

Senator, thank you for joining us, first of all.

Big stuff on the Hill all week long with this immigration bill. Tell us. Let our viewers exactly where you stand with the current "Gang of Eight" bill that is out there floating?

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: Well, thank you, Eric. It's great to join you.

This current bill is a mess. It's repeating the same failed pattern we saw in 1986. In 1986, Congress came to the American people and said we're going to grant amnesty to some three million people who are here illegally, and in exchange we will secure the borders, we will fix the problems so illegal immigration will go away.

What happened was, the amnesty happened, 3 million people got amnesty, but the borders never got secured. And the problem got worse and worse. Today, instead of 3 million people, we're dealing with 11 million people who are here illegally. And what Congress is saying is the exact same deal, which is, legalization first, and then they're promising maybe someday in the future the border will be secure.

And you know what, Eric? I think the American people -- there's the old saying, fool me once, shame on you; fool me once (sic), shame on me. I don't think the American people are going to fall for it a second time.

What an overwhelming majority of Americans want to see is the border secured first. Fix the problem, stop illegal immigration, and then improve legal immigration to welcome legal immigrants to America.

BOLLING: Sir, I got to tell you, on Tuesday or so -- I believe I was Tuesday or Wednesday -- I got a phone call in my office. It was Senator Marco Rubio, and he said, Bolling, you're not really understanding what I'm saying. He said, what we want to do is get the legalization first and then we have a plan for the border. And he went through this plan, and, frankly E-Verify, more border agents. They're going to paying their taxes. It will take 10 years before they get legalization.

And I said, Senator, that sounds great. However, how are you going to stop more from coming in? They don't really have that, do they?

CRUZ: No, they don't, and they don't intend to fix it.

The current "Gang of Eight" bill all depends upon Janet Napolitano submitting a -- quote -- "plan" to secure the border. That plan will never materialize. And then this week, the big news is that a couple of Republicans have joined with Chuck Schumer and President Obama in supporting an amendment that they're going to say secures the border, but critically, just like the "Gang of Eight", this new amendment allows legalization first and then it promises possibly border security in the future. And we have seen before the border security will never work.

I have an amendment pending that it looks like Harry Reid is not going to let us vote on that would secure the border first, that would fix the problem before any legalization will go into effect. And it's clear the Obama White House won't allow that to happen because it's inconsistent with their political objectives.

BOLLING: Senator, I posed a question. I was sitting with Senator Paul at one point. I said, what about privatizing the border? What about -- two- thirds of the border is federally owned land. What about either giving the land to farmers or selling the land very cheaply to farmers and then the requirement is that they secure the border on their own? If they don't, we will take it away and give it to someone else.

How about private enterprise handling the border, rather than spending billions upon billions of dollars trying to do it ourselves as a federal government?

CRUZ: Well, I think under the Constitution, the federal government has a responsibility to secure our borders.

And I will tell you, I have visited with a great many farmers and ranchers in South Texas that have land, have ranches on the border, and the current system is broken. Everyone understands that. Many of them on the border now, the private citizens who own land, they leave their doors unlocked. And the reason is, they have got hundreds of people coming illegally across their properties. And if they lock the doors, the locks get broken because people are desperate for food or water and they break in.

This system is tragic. You see women and children dying in the desert, being sexually assaulted. Nobody who supported rule of law, who supported a humane outcome would want a system that encourages more illegal immigration, and that is what this bill does.

BOLLING: All right, Senator, you have a petition that you want people to sign. Tell us how that works.

CRUZ: Well, we have launched a national petition. It is at,

In the past couple of days, we have had over 50,000 Americans all over the country signing that petition to stand up and say, look, fix the problem. Don't make the same mistake we made in 1986. Secure the borders first, and then we can welcome and celebrate legal immigrants with a system that works.

I would urge your listeners, if you don't want to see the same legalization first, no border security pass, do two things. One, go to, sign our national petition. And, two, pick up the phone, call your senator, call your member of the House of Representatives, and tell them, do not support legalization first, secure the borders first, and don't support this "Gang of Eight" bill because it is a mess that will make the problem worse.

BOLLING: All right, very good, sir.

Move on to one of the other things that's been floating around all week in D.C., one of the other scandals that the White House is kind of dealing with. The NSA scandal, the snooping scandal that Ed Snowden broke a couple weeks ago now seems to be growing. It seems to be bigger. It looks like they're looking at more Americans. Maybe they don't need warrants or court orders to look at some of the American -- Americans' records. Your thoughts.

CRUZ: Well, look, I'm very concerned about this scandal. I think most Americans are.

The approach of the Obama administration, when it comes to national security, when it comes to terrorism, seems to be almost exactly backwards, in that they have been very intrusive on their willingness to violate the civil liberties of law-abiding Americans. They really have given short shrift to the constitutional protections all of us enjoy.

But at the same time, they have been far less effective than they should have been targeting actual terrorists. I don't know if it's political correctness, I don't know what it is. But you look at instance after instance where we have had real, credible intelligence on specific terrorists, whether it was the Tsarnaev brothers up in Boston who committed the Boston bombing, where we knew from Russia they were radical jihadists already, and yet we dropped the ball and didn't stop that terrorism, or whether it was Major Hasan in the Fort Hood shooting, where we knew that he was in communication with radical Islamist clerics, and yet we dropped the ball and didn't stop that massacre.

In my view, the administration's priorities are exactly wrong. They need to be...


BOLLING: Senator...

CRUZ: Yes.

BOLLING: My question here is, so, the NSA gathers all this data, the metadata, maybe even more. The FBI independently gaining who knows, phone calls, maybe more records as well. Do you trust our government that they're going to do the right thing with this and protect it and only use it in cases where there's either espionage or terrorism that they're looking for, and it's not necessarily innocent Americans that they're blanketing?

CRUZ: Well, it is very hard to trust this Obama administration. I think there needs to be a lot more scrutiny of what the NSA is doing, what the FBI is doing.

And the president's response right now is exactly what you just suggested -- trust me. But given the other scandals, given the IRS, they have admitted they targeted his political enemies, given Benghazi, given all of the scandals coming out of this administration, it's very hard -- they have very limited credibility.

When they say, trust me, if you have demonstrated you're willing to abuse power, I think American citizens are a lot more skeptical of just saying trust the Obama White House.

BOLLING: Usually, when they say, trust me, that means, that's a signal, don't.

Senator, I just wanted to give you my condolences to the San Antonio Spurs last night.


BOLLING: Great game.

CRUZ: Oh. Oh.

BOLLING: Sorry about that, state of Texas, great state anyway.

Senator, thank you for joining us.

CRUZ: Eric, it's heartbreaking. And I'm sad to say I'm sending to Marco Rubio a case of Shiner Bock beer and some Blue Bell ice cream. I lost the bet and it broke my heart. But the Spurs played a fantastic series. They did a great job.

BOLLING: Yes, absolutely.

CRUZ: And congratulations to the Heat. They played a phenomenal series as well.

BOLLING: We're going to leave it there. Senator Ted Cruz, thank you very much.

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