Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's clash over immigration was one of the big stories from Tuesday's GOP presidential debate but Cruz was challenged Wednesday on how his words from Tuesday jibed with his past statements.
Appearing on Fox News Channel's "Special Report,"
Cruz was asked about his past statements about the Gang of Eight amnesty bill supported by Rubio, Republicans Lindsey Graham and John McCain and several prominent Democrats that conservatives argued allowed for amnesty.
Cruz offered an amendment to the bill, which host Bret Baier told Cruz would have allowed undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States.
"How do you square that circle," host Bret Baier asked.
Cruz stammered for a moment before saying, "Actually, Bret, it wouldn't have."
Instead, Cruz said, he was leading the fight against amnesty, "standing shoulder-to-shoulder with [Alabama Sen.] Jeff Sessions, [Iowa Rep.] Steve King, leading the fight to secure the borders. What I did in that amendment was an amendment I introduced to save citizenship. Those who are here legally will be eligible for citizenship.
"Jeff Sessions voted with me on my amendment to eliminate citizenship," Cruz said. "Is anyone remotely suggesting that Jeff Sessions supports amnesty?"
Baier quoted several sources where Cruz sounded as though he actually supported the Gang of Eight bill, but Cruz insisted he was supporting only his own amendment.
The Texas Tribune at the time quoted America's Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry criticizing Cruz.
"An amendment from Senator Ted Cruz would prohibit anyone who had been undocumented for any period of time ever from becoming a United States citizen in the future" Sharry said. "This would not only destroy the path to citizenship in the Senate bill — the popular heart of an immigration reform solution — but also turn its back on one hundred years of precedent in immigration policy."
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