- The Washington Times - Friday, September 25, 2015

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum vowed Friday to pursue immigration policies that protect American workers, while warning voters that some of his GOP rivals have embraced a much softer approach to the issue.

Mr. Santorum, the runner-up in the 2012 Republican nomination battle, urged the crowd that converged on a hotel in Washington, D.C., for the annual Values Voter Summit to recognize that a couple of the speakers before him — Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz — have previously supported “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.

“You have a lot of people that come up here and talk about how tough they are, but they actually support amnesty. The speaker just before me running for president, he will tell you how tough he is,” Mr. Santorum said, alluding to Mr. Cruz. “He offered an amendment to allow people to stay in this country indefinitely. To me, that is amnesty.”

Mr. Santorum has struggled to gain a foothold in national polling and is running near the back of the pack.

With that as a backdrop, the 57-year-old has staked a lot in the immigration debate.

He also has touted the conservative record he compiled in Congress, including authoring legislation aimed at changing the leadership of the Iranian government.

Mr. Santorum served in the House from 1991 to 1995 and in the Senate from 1995 to 2007 when he lost his re-election bid to Democrat Bob Casey Jr. by a 59 percent to 41 percent margin.

But Mr. Santorum did not get the answer here Friday he was looking for when he asked the crowd who they will trust and who they think has the vision to lead the nation.

Ted Cruz!” someone shouted.

Mr. Santorum countered that if people support misguided immigration policies, than Mr. Cruz could be their choice, but said he would move in a different direction by adopting immigration policies that will defend the American worker.

“If you want policies that are going to work for the working women and men in this country who want someone to stand for them, against Wall Street, against the big employers that want cheaper labor in this country, then you’ve got one choice, and it’s not a bad choice,” Mr. Santorum said, alluding to himself. “It is a choice you can trust on the issues you care about at a time when we need strong leadership to put this country back on the right track.”

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