Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas noticeably toughened his stance on immigration Monday night, saying in an interview that the U.S. should deport all 12 million illegal immigrants now here.
In an interview with Fox News, host Bill O’Reilly asked Mr. Cruz whether he would “round up all 12 million illegal aliens here, and if so, how?”
Mr. Cruz replied, “yes, we should deport them. We should build a wall, we should triple the Border Patrol. Federal law requires that anyone here illegally that’s apprehended should be deported.”
When Mr. O’Reilly pressed him how this would happen and whether a President Cruz would tell federal law-enforcement to actively seek out illegals, the Texan didn’t back away.
“Look, Bill, of course you would. That’s what ICE exists for. We have law enforcement that looks for people who are violating the laws, that apprehends them and deports them,” Mr. Cruz said.
In earlier interviews, Mr. Cruz had parried questions about what the federal government should do with the illegal immigrants already here and downplayed what he called a “deportation force.”
“I don’t intend to send jackboots to knock on your door and every door in America. That’s not how we enforce the law for any crime,” he told CNN in the runup to the Iowa caucuses.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Mr. Cruz had for years ducked the question of what to do with illegals here, saying that was a question only worth asking and answering once the U.S.-Mexico border is secure.