Let’s go “Cruzing” again! Yes, take another wild and crazy ride with me down the twisted road of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s mind.
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The new darling of tea party Republicans got elected last year in part by stoking right-wing fear that the United Nations is planning to seize America’s golf courses. Riding that momentum, Cruz is now gaining national notoriety as a senator who takes extremism to the extreme… and beyond.
Ted’s latest trip swerves through the immigration debate. He uses the personal saga of his father to make the case that there should be no path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants living here, no matter how much they’re contributing to our economy and society. Daddy Cruz, he points out again and again, followed the rules 66 years ago to leave Cuba and become an American citizen. “Every step of the way,” the elder Cruz recently affirmed in a radio interview, “I have been here legally.”
Well… not every step. Rafael Cruz admits that he only got here by bribing a Cuban official. Technically speaking, that’s illegal. Still, father and son both tear-up in telling how Rafael got a job, “eventually going on to start a small business and to work towards the American dream.” Unmentioned in this soaring Horatio Alger tale is that Rafael did all of that “American Dream” stuff in Canada, where he became a citizen, and where Ted was born.
In fact, Rafael did not become an American citizen until 2005 – nearly half-a-century after leaving Cuba. What took him so long? “I don’t know,” the father now says, adding ruefully, “I guess laziness.”
Not quite the model of righteousness that Ted spins out as he uses “Citizen Rafael” to rationalize slamming America’s door in the face of other hard-working immigrants. Yeah, Senator, tell ’em they should’ve bribed their way to America!
“How Ted Cruz’s Father Shaped His Views On Immigration,” www.npr.org, June 20, 2013.