Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) says that comprehensive immigration reform is “incredibly unfair to those who follow the rules,” even though his father admits that he was forced to use bribes to immigrate from Cuba.
In an interview aired by NPR on Thursday, Cruz held up his father, 74-year-old Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, as an example of why it was wrong to offer a path to citizenship to the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States illegally.
“I came to this country legally,” Rafael Cruz told NPR. “I came here with a legal visa, and … every step of the way, I have been here legally.”
The older Cruz explained that he had once fought with Fidel Castro’s forces in Cuba to overthrow Fulgencio Batista, a U.S.-backed dictator. He later fled to the United States after receiving a four-year student visa to study at the University of Texas.
“Then the only other thing that I needed was an exit permit from the Batista government,” Rafael Cruz said. “A friend of the family, a lawyer friend of my father, basically bribed a Batista official to stamp my passport with an exit permit.”
After his student visa expired, Rafael Cruz obtained political asylum in the U.S. He then found work with the oil industry in Canada, where Ted Cruz was born.
Rafael Cruz became a Canadian citizen while in Canada. While his son was serving as solicitor general of Texas in 2005, Rafael Cruz renounced his Canadian citizenship and became and American citizen.
“In my opinion, if we allow those who are here illegally to be put on a path to citizenship, that is incredibly unfair to those who follow the rules,” the Texas senator told NPR.
But Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa insisted that Ted Cruz’ opposition to immigration reform had more to do with the belief that immigrants will become Democrats.
“All these specious arguments that are being made about, ‘Whoa, my dad got in here the right way and, therefore, everybody else should’ are just — are bogus and everybody knows that,” Hinojosa saod.
Listen to the audio below from NPR, broadcast June 20, 2013.