Today U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) provided an opening statement on immigration legislation before the Senate Judiciary Committee that stressed the importance of securing the border and fixing a broken legal immigration system. Video and a transcript of Sen. Cruz's remarks are below:
Sen. Cruz Opening Statement:
"Virtually everyone agrees the immigration system we have no is broken. I very much hope that we are embarking on what will prove to be a real markup that will improve this bill.
"The majority has the votes on this committee to vote down every minority amendment, virtually every minority amendment, if it so chooses. I hope the majority does not take that approach. We have seen that approach in prior instances and that is not an approach that, in my view, leads to passing a bill.
"Let me be clear: I want commonsense immigration reform to pass. I think the American people want it to pass, but they want it to pass in a way that fixes the problem and I am hopeful the majority on this committee will work, as I trust it will in good faith, to improve this bill and consider amendments that would make real changes to this bill.
"I have introduced three types of amendments that are important for improving this bill. The first, and we are considering a set of amendments today, addresses border security and, in my view, the bill has grave problems when it comes to border security.
"As currently drafted, the bill is essentially a plan to plan for the Department of Homeland Security and it contains toothless metrics which, in my judgment, would render it a virtual certainty that if this bill were passed a few years hence we would be having yet more hearings discussing why the border is still not secure and the problem of illegal immigration remains.
"I have introduced amendments and others have introduced amendments to put real teeth in the border security elements. I hope this committee will give those amendments serious considerations.
"Secondly, I have introduced a pair of amendments to improve legal immigration. In my view, the best elements of the Gang of 8 bill are the elements dealing with legal immigration and I think we should improve and streamline legal immigration.
"I've introduced one amendment to double the cap of legal immigration from 675,000 to 1.3 million. Another, to take the high-tech H1-B visas that are coming in and to increase them by 500%, from 65,000 to 325,000.
"I think we need to remain a nation that welcomes and embraces legal immigrants and in both regards my amendments go further to improving legal immigration than does the Gang of 8.
"And, finally I've introduced amendments to remove the path to citizenship for those who are here illegally and make them ineligible for means-tested government benefits. If those provisions are insisted upon, and the majority has the votes to insist on those provisions, it is likely to scuttle this bill and cause it to be voted down in the House of Representatives.
"I don't want this bill to be voted down and I hope the stakeholders who want this bill to be passed will be interested in amendments to craft a bill that will pass and I look forward to working with the committee members in that process."