On the last day of early voting, Republican U.S. Senate candidates David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz are clashing over their records on immigration, taking to the airwaves and Internet with their accusations.
Opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants is nearly a requirement for Republicans who want to be elected in Texas.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst explained his position during an interview with KERA.
Dewhurst/February: We’re a nation of laws, so we need to set in motion a process whereby if people want to be citizens there’s a procedure for them to go back home, apply and become citizens and move this country forward.
Republican opponent Ted Cruz has also repeatedly said he opposes amnesty, but in a new radio ad Dewhurst questions Cruz’s commitment.
Dewhurst Ad: Cruz helped run two national organizations that have been leading the push to give amnesty to illegal immigrants.
Friday, Cruz responded with a web ad called “Desperate Dewhurst's Amnesty Lies." During a rally with supporters in Fort Worth, he described the organizations in question as Hispanic groups that encourage small business. He called Dewhurst’s claims “desperate.”
Cruz: My record has clear and unequivocal from the very beginning. I categorically oppose amnesty. It is an absolute, bald- faced, naked lie that David Dewhurst is spreading. And he’s doing it because the election is in four days and he figures by the time people hear the truth they may be so confused as not to know what to do on Election Day.
Cruz offered a three step approach for what to do with the 12 million undocumented people already in the United States. He called for employers to use e-verify to identify those workers. He said eliminating social service benefits would encourage illegal immigrants to return to their countries. Cruz said he would also push for legislation that outlaws sanctuary cities, a step which would encourage local law enforcement to identify and deport undocumented people.
Cruz: If we enforce the law that means those who are here illegally go home. Breaking the law has consequences.
Cruz claims Dewhurst as lieutenant governor allowed a bill banning sanctuary cities to die during last year’s legislative session. Dewhurst has said the bill did not have enough support to pass and he too opposes sanctuary cities.
The clash comes as Dewhurst tries to capture enough votes in Tuesday’s primary to prevent Cruz from forcing him into a runoff race.
See our Guide to the U.S. Senate Race for information on candidates and video interviews.