The immigration-reform bill was designed to fail by Democrats who would rather campaign on the contentious issue than repair the crippled system, Sen. Ted Cruz told Yahoo and ABC News
"I think the bill is being driven by partisan politics and not by a desire to solve it," the Texas Republican said of the bipartisan measure authored by four Democrats and four Republicans. "The biggest obstacle to passing common-sense immigration reform is President Barack Obama."
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"The path the White House is going down, I believe, is designed for this bill to fail," Cruz added. "It is designed for it to sail through the Senate and then crash in the House to let the president go and campaign in 2014 on this issue."
The bill faces a filibuster test in the Senate on Monday, and nearly a month of debate is scheduled before a final vote before the Fourth of July holiday.
Cruz said he's concerned that in the rush to create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, which he refers to as amnesty, the so-called "Gang of Eight" senators who hammered out the measure paid little attention to actually doing more to secure the U.S. southern border.
Asked if that assessment included Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the GOP negotiators, Cruz said the Florida Republican "is proceeding in good faith" in hopes that Democrats will include stronger enforcement and other means of assuring border security.
For his part, Rubio has threatened to withdraw his support if amendments aren't added to the bill to address his concerns.
The problem should not be sidelined by party politics, but refocused on whether a massive new law would stem the flow of illegal immigration, not make it worse, Cruz said.
The freshman lawmaker has ruffled a few feathers since coming to Washington this year, and has frustrated some of the more senior statesmen in his own party, particularly Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who called Cruz a “wacko bird.”
"If standing for liberty, if standing for the free-market principle and the Constitution makes you a wacko bird, then I am a very proud wacko bird," Cruz told Yahoo and ABC.
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