Ted Cruz is hitting Republican frontrunner Donald Trump on what many conservatives would argue is the businessman’s strongest issue: illegal immigration. Yet, surprising as it may seem, Cruz is accusing Trump of supporting amnesty. In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopolous, Cruz argued that Trump’s plan to deport millions of illegal immigrants is equal to “touchback.”
"So Donald Trump's position is once you deport them, it's what's called touchback. A lot of establishment Republicans had touchback," Cruz said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. "Basically you make them fly back to their country for a minute, touch the ground, and then they come back with amnesty as citizens. Now, Donald is entitled to do that. He can advance that position, but he doesn't get to pretend that it's not amnesty if he's legalizing 12 million people [who are] here illegally."
Cruz continued to criticize his former friend for only acting tough on illegal immigration when it is politically astute.
"I would note at that time, right in the middle of the fight, Donald Trump was publicly supporting amnesty. He was supporting Marco Rubio's Dream Act," Cruz said. "He was criticizing Mitt Romney for being too tough on immigration. That's where Donald Trump was in 2013. Now, when he launched his campaign for president, suddenly he discovered illegal immigration was a problem."
Since he entered the 2016 race, Trump has claimed the media would not be talking about illegal immigration if it wasn’t for him. While that may be true, there’s no denying his shaky record on the issue. Another case in point: Many of Trump’s critics have been retweeting a three-year-old tweet of his in which he argued amnesty is not wise without first securing the border.
Congress must protect our borders first. Amnesty should be done only if the border is secure and illegal immigration has stopped.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2013
Trump has also increased his criticism of Cruz in recent days as the Texas senator gains in the polls. The business mogul admitted his momentum is the reason he is raising the birther issue and just a few days ago he called Cruz a ‘nasty’ guy. Cruz says Trump’s recent behavior proves he is obsessed with him.