Cruz slams immigration hecklers: ‘They don’t want the truth to be heard’

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Illegal immigrant advocates interrupted Sen. Ted Cruz’s speech to the Values Voters Summit on Friday more than a half-dozen times, calling on the Texas Republican and potential presidential candidate to support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

But the Texas Republican repeatedly deflected the criticism, turning it into an attack against President Obama.

“How scared is the president?” Mr. Cruz said. “Oh, they don’t want the truth to be heard. They definitely don’t want the truth to be heard.”

The crowd also tried to drown out the protestors with chants of “USA! USA!”

The protesters were dragged out by security guards.

Mr. Cruz opposed the immigration reform bill that GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida helped to steer through the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it passed on a 68-32 vote, garnering the support of 14 Republicans.

The GOP-controlled House has not taken up the bill, which would grant quick legal status and work permits to most illegal immigrants. But it would withhold a full path to citizenship until a number of border security benchmarks are met.

“The message we were trying to get to the Republican Party was that if they want to get Latino vote once again, they need to support immigration reform,” said Salvador Cervantes, who refused to give his group’s name. “An immigration reform bill that gives legal status to people who are living without documents — good people.”

Carolina Canizales, 23, a member of United We Dream, who came to the country illegally but got tentative legal status under President Obama’s non-deportation policies, said that Mr. Cruz has refused to listen to advocates of immigration reform.

“There is one reality that we are always having: There are 1,400 people being deported every day,” Ms. Canizales said. “Sen. Cruz is a Latino and should champion our population of Latinos.”

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