Texas Sen. Ted Cruz did not back down from his stance on immigration Wednesday night, after being confronted by a woman who asked if he would deport her, even though it was her parents who brought her to the United States illegally.
During an event in Storm Lake, Iowa, Wednesday night, Ofelia Valdez, 30, told Cruz that although she was brought to the country illegally by her parents as a teen, she was able to retain residency due to President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or “DREAM act.”
“As a DACA holder myself, I am worried about whoever comes next in the presidency and what’s gonna happen to people like us?” Valdez said, according to a video taken posted on YouTube by the Democratic National Committee. “I think of myself as a part of this community and, you know, first day in presidency you decide to deport, you know, people like myself — it’s just very difficult to process it.”
While Valdez’ question invoked many emotions, Cruz did not concede that immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. illegally, noting that deportation is a consequence of a “broken immigration system.”
“I would note, if you’re a DACA recipient it means that you were brought here illegally, and violating the laws has consequences,” Cruz told the woman. “And one of the problems with our broken immigration system is that it is creating human tragedies and there are human tragedies when people break the law.”
The leading Iowa Republican went on to explain to the woman that, if he were to immigrate to a country illegally, he would most likely be deported — so America should be no different.
“If I illegally emigrate to England or Germany or France or China or Mexico, and they catch me, they will deport me,” he said. “That’s what every other country on Earth does, and there’s no reason that America’s laws should have less respect than the laws of every other country on Earth.”
“We should welcome people who come following the laws, but there are consequences for breaking the laws, and that is part of what makes America the nation that we are,” the Texas Republican added.
Cruz, over the last month, has been sharpening his rhetoric on immigration, in an effort to contrast himself and fellow Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio.
Democratic candidates, on the other hand, have been attempting to win over Hispanic voters by advocating for immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for those illegals who are already in the U.S. Former President Bill Clinton, who is now campaigning for his wife Hillary, was even introduced by a “DREAMer” at an event on Thursday.
Watch the exchange below:
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