January 10th, 2016
11:57 AM ET

Ted Cruz rules out Trump style deportation force: “We don’t live in a police state.”

SOTU

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator Ted Cruz, GOP presidential candidate (R-TX), joined anchor, Jake Tapper to discuss immigration, gun control, and 2016 presidential politics.

 

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

 

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

 

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Zachary Lilly – Zachary.Lilly@turner.com

 

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

 

Ted Cruz dismisses citizenship 'swamp theories'

http://cnn.it/1OjZxzp

 

Cruz: 'Mushy middle' won't win in 2016

http://cnn.it/1OI0xRz

 

Cruz: Republicans caved on budget

http://cnn.it/1PlF90z

 

 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Cruz on his Canadian background: “No, my mother didn't [vote in Canadian elections] because she was a U.S. citizen, and look, my mother, the internet has all sorts of fevered swamp theories, but the facts are simple- my mom was born in Wilmington, Delaware, she was an American citizen by birth, she's been an American citizen all 81 years of her life, she's never been a citizen of any other place. And so the law is simple and straightforward, and it's actually come up a bunch of times in our nation's history.”

 

Cruz clarifies his immigration policy: “It begins by building a wall that works, and you know as I joked in the last debate maybe we will make Donald trump pay for it. After that, we triple the border patrol we increase the fourfold the fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft…you put in place a strong e-verify system so people cannot get employment without proving that they didn't get in here illegally. You put in place a strong biometric entry system for visas so we know the instance someone overstays there visa… Door-to-door, we don't have any system that knocks on the doors of every person in America. That is not actually how the American law enforcement system works. We also don't have people going door-to-door looking for murderers. We don't live in a police state… No, I don't intend to send jack boots to knock on your door and every door in America. That's not how we enforce the law for any crime.”

 

Cruz on the Republican leadership in Congress: “Oh listen, the American people are so frustrated with Republican leadership who say at every turn, we have to fund all of Obama's agenda, all of Obama's priorities. The Republican leadership passed this massive Omnibus bill, over a trillion dollars, thousands of pages negotiated in the dark of night. It funds 100% of Obama priorities. It funds all of Obamacare, all of executive amnesty. It funds all of Planned Parenthood. It funds this disastrous Iranian nuclear deal. It even funds President Obama's indefensible plan to bring Syrian refugees to America… I'm going to say something that you will rarely here me say Nancy Pelosi and Chick Schumer and Harry Reed were exactly right. All of them said publicly republican leadership just funded our entire agenda… we win elections we keep winning elections we won a tidal wave election in 2010. We won a tidal wave election in 2014. And republican leadership stands and tells the American people I'm sorry we can't stand for anything.”

 

Cruz details how Conservatives could win the White House: “You are right that there are a lot of Washington political consultants that argue every election cycle the way for Republicans to win is run to the mushy middle, run a candidate that's Democrat-lite, and every time we do it we get clobbered. You know this is no longer a theory- you know as they say in the tech world, this has been beta-tested. The one thing that is abundantly clear is that if we nominate another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole, or a John McCain, or a Mitt Romney- and all three of those are good honorable decent men who love this country- but what they did didn't work…You know it's worth remembering, in 50 years there's only one Republican who has a group of Democrats named after him- Reagan Democrats. If the Washington theory were right that you win crossover votes by running to the mushy middle we'd have Gerald Ford Democrats or Bob Dole Democrats or John McCain Democrats or Mitt Romney Democrats.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

 

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Senator Cruz thanks so much for doing this, appreciate it.

 

SENATOR TED CRUZ, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (R-TX): It's good to be with you.

 

TAPPER: So you're getting a lot of flack from your opponents, I just have to say, so Donald Trump in the last few weeks has gone after you in one way or another about your faith, suggesting you're in the pocket of big oil, questioning whether you're constitutionally eligible. I understand your strategy of not wanting to engage in what you call 'the silly season', but do you, are you ever worried that by not responding some people might feel like you're afraid of Trump?

 

CRUZ: Well look let's be clear, this has been my approach with regard to everybody-

 

TAPPER: Well you and Rubio go back and forth sometimes.

 

CRUZ: Well listen, Marco and I have had some disputes on policy, and in particular something like the Gang of Eight which was a major battle and we disagreed on substantive policy, so I'm glad to engage on the substance there. But from the beginning of this campaign whenever anyone has thrown rocks, has thrown insults, I have not engaged, I have not reciprocated, and I don't intend to. And that's the way I've treated Donald, that's the way I've treated every other candidate and it's the way I intend to approach it. And the reason Jake- I think most Americans they couldn't care less about a bunch of politicians bickering like schoolchildren.

 

TAPPER: well they care if you're constitutionally eligible. Right? I mean that's something you get asked about.

 

CRUZ: But the substance of the issue is clear and straight forward as a legal matter, the constitution and federal law are clear that the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a natural-born citizen. And the dynamic that's happening is interesting. You know, three weeks ago almost every Republican candidate was attacking Donald Trump, today almost every Republican candidate is attacking me, and that kind of suggests maybe something has changed in the race.

 

TAPPER: well you're leading in Iowa for one, and second in the polls nationally. Carly Fiorina saying the other say that it's odd that it wasn't until 2014 that you renounced your dual citizenship with Canada. No I know you say that you didn't even know about it until the Dallas Morning News wrote the story about in in I think 2013, did you ever go back after that Dallas Morning News Story and try to find out more about your parents' time in Canada?  Whether they did any- I mean, did they vote in Canada when they were there?

 

CRUZ: No, my mother didn't because she was a U.S. citizen, and look, my mother, the internet has all sorts of fevered swamp theories, but the facts are simple- my mom was born in Wilmington, Delaware, she was an American citizen by birth, she's been an American citizen all 81 years of her life, she's never been a citizen of any other place. And so the law is simple and straightforward, and it's actually come up a bunch of times in our nation's history. So, John McCain was born in Panama, but he was a U.S. citizen because his parent were citizens

 

TAPPER: And he was born on a U.S. military base.

 

CRUZ: Well, George Romney, Mitt's dad who ran for president in 1968 was born in Mexico when his parents were Mormon missionaries, but he was a U.S. citizen because his parents were citizens, and Barry Goldwater was born in Arizona but before Arizona was a state, it was a territory

 

TAPPER: Right, it was a territory

 

CRUZ: And again, his parents were citizens. So as a legal matter, this question is straightforward. What it's really designed to do- listen what the American people are focused on are the problems facing this country.

TAPPER: Sure.

 

CRUZ: We've had in the last two days, last night we had two terrorists arrested one in California one in my hometown of Houston they both came as Iraqi refugees using the same vetting that President Obama wants us to trust with Syrian refugees. And then today we saw a Philadelphia police officer shot multiple times by a man who's apparently pledged his allegiance to ISIS. The American people are looking for who's ready to be commander in chief. Who's got the experience, who's got the judgment, the seriousness of purpose the clarity of vision, the strength of resolve, to keep this country safe and defeat our enemies, and in my view, and candidates or for that matter folks in the press who want to go down rabbit trails and circus sideshows are distraction from the real issues the American people are focused on. How do we keep America safe, how do we bring back jobs, how do we protect our constitutional rights. That's what I'm focusing on.

 

TAPPER: Let's talk about one of those issues, Immigration. That's a big issue, where just a few minutes ago you differentiated yourself from Marco Rubio, it's an issue where you and Donald Trump different yourselves from the pack in many ways. You both say you want to deport the 11 to 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country. No, Trump has said that he will have a deportation force that will go door-to-door and round people up and get rid of them. You haven't really been clear as far as I can tell as to how you're going to get all these people out of the country. How will you get them out?

 

CRUZ: Well actually Jake I've been very clear there's an 11 page very detailed immigration plan on my website TedCruz.org tedcruz.org anyone can go look at it and read it chapter and verse. That immigration plan was drafted hand in hand with Steven King and Jeff Sessions two of the strongest advocates and fighters for securing the border that we have in the country and it lays out details of how we secure the borders

 

TAPPER: I'm not talking about the border though I'm talking about the people already in the country.

 

CRUZ: but it details an entire enforcement strategy it's not just – interior enforcement is a critical part of how you stop illegal immigration so it's a comprehensive approach to stopping illegal immigration. It begins by building a wall that works, and you know as I joked in the last debate maybe we will make Donald trump pay for it. After that, we triple the border patrol we increase the fourfold the fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft.

 

TAPPER: but how do you get the people that are already in herd out?

 

CRUZ: you put in place a strong e-verify system so people cannot get employment without proving that they didn't get in here illegally. You put in place a strong biometric entry system for visas so we know the instance someone overstays there visa. Forty percent of illegal immigration is visa overstays and by the way you can't – deportations are ineffective until you secure the border. Why? Because right now when we deport someone they come right back in two or three days. It's like if a boat is sinking you've got to patch it up before you start bailing, if you never fix the hole it will never work.

 

TAPPER: but I still don't understand how the people who are living in the shadows who are already operating underneath the radar, at least 11 million of them – will you have a force that goes door to door rounds them up and deports them?

 

CRUZ: listen we have an enforcement force it's called border patrol and it's called immigration and customs enforcement

 

CROSSTALK

 

TAPPER: but they're at the border though

 

CRUZ: ICE is not ICE is not. Border patrol is not at the border ICE is at the interior. They are both law enforcement and listen this shouldn't be an issue of debate you know I'm remind of sometime ago Sunny Bona was asked, what's your view on illegal immigration? He said, well its illegal isn't it? The question of what to do with people here illegally, the president - the constitution answers this the president must quote: "take care that the laws be faithfully executed. That is a responsibility when the president takes his oath of office that is a promise he's making to the American people. What Barack Obama says is he doesn't care what the federal law says, he will not enforce it. If I am elected president I will follow the constitution and I will enforce the law. Federal immigration law says that if we apprehended an individual who is here illegally they are to be deported

 

CROSSTALK

 

TAPPER: if we apprehend them

 

CRUZ: I will enforce the law.

 

TAPPER: I don't mean to be disrespectful, but it seems like a fairly simple answer yes or no. Will you have people going door-to-door rounding people up?

 

CRUZ: Door-to-door, we don't have any system that knocks on the doors of every person in America. That is not actually how the American law enforcement system works. We also don't have people going door-to-door looking for murderers. We don't live in a police state. We do have law enforcement. How do we catch people? We catch them through things like E-verify. We catch them through things like the criminal law enforcement system where in 2013 do you know how many criminal illegal aliens the Obama Administration released? It was over 104,000. 196 with homicide convictions, murderers. Roughly 400 sexual assault convictions, rapists. That – those numbers should be zero. Over 16,000 with drunk driving convictions. So we enforce the laws. But this notion, and listen, you know the media game you're playing. You want to conjure up.

 

TAPPER: No, I just really...Donald Trump has been very specific. Trump has been specific. There are 11 to 12 million, at least, undocumented immigrants and he says he's going to have a force go and grab them and deport them.

 

CRUZ: We have law enforcement authorities that enforce our laws. Your question, you keep saying that they are going to knock on every door in America. No, I don't intend to send jack boots to knock on your door and every door in America. That's not how we enforce the law for any crime.

 

TAPPER: Gun control, restrictions on gun ownership, gun grabbing as you called it in an email. A lot of that in the news these days and a lot of questions about background checks and who should be allowed to buy a gun and who should not. Do you think somebody who has been convicted of domestic abuse against a partner, girlfriend, boyfriend should that person be legally allowed to buy a firearm? Because that's an issue that's debated a lot.

 

CRUZ: Well it's existing law right now that if you have a domestic violence abuse, you're not eligible to buy a firearm, and that is existing law. And I mentioned my obligation as president is to enforce the law and that is an obligation that I take seriously. It's interesting there are a lot of times that I get questions at town halls, you're on a bus right now, we're traveling through Iowa, we are doing 28 counties in 6 days. I'll get questions at town halls will you implement this policy that we really care about? And my answer over and over- for example I've had people say 'will you end Obamacare on day one? And my answer has be no. Now listen, no one is more committed to ending Obamacare than I am. But the president doesn't have the Constitutional authority to end it on day one because it's a statute passed into law by Congress and the only way to end it is to repeal that statute so I will work with Congress and do everything humanly possible. We will repeal Obamacare. But unlike Obama, I don't intend as president to be, to use his word, and emperor simply decreeing the policy outcomes I like. I intend to follow the law. It used to be that liberals believed in that. It's one of the amazing things under the Obama Administration is where have all the liberals gone? As we've seen the president disregarding the law, disregarding the Constitution. For example, a few years ago, President Obama lawlessly appointed commissioners to the National Labors Relations Board. He declared that the Senate was in recess when it wasn't and made recess appointments. Now, a few decades ago, there would have been old bulls in the Senate. The Ted Kennedys, the Mike Mansfields, the Robert Byrds, Democrats who would have stood up to a Democratic president. And said 'no Mr. President, you don't have the authority to trample on the authority of the United States Senate.' What's amazing is how servile the entire Democratic party is right now but I guess it's just the ends justify the means. And by the way, as you know, that went to the US Supreme Court and 9-0, the Supreme Court said of course Obama doesn't have authority to make appointments and declare the Senate in recess when it's not in recess.

 

TAPPER: Let's talk about that because the House and the Senate, Republican-led,  just sent to President Obama a bill to overturn Obamacare. He vetoed it. Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House says we're going to have the votes to override the president's veto. We will probably not succeed but this is how we're going to do it. What do you say to your Republican colleagues in Washington, in the Capitol, the Cartel you refer to, who say this is how we should have been doing it not your way which was shutting down the government. Their way, the Constitutional way, and the proper way. What's your response to them? The Mitch McConnells of the world?

 

CRUZ: Oh listen, the American people are so frustrated with Republican leadership who say at every turn, we have to fund all of Obama's agenda, all of Obama's priorities. The Republican leadership passed this massive Omnibus bill, over a trillion dollars, thousands of pages negotiated in the dark of night. It funds 100% of Obama priorities. It funds all of Obamacare, all of executive amnesty. It funds all of Planned Parenthood. It funds this disastrous Iranian nuclear deal. It even funds President Obama's indefensible plan to bring Syrian refugees to America. Just this week we saw two Iraqis refugees who have been arrested for being ISIS terrorists and yet Republican leadership decided to fund President Obama's plan to bring more.

 

TAPPER Pelosi and Reed say the republicans gave away the store because all they wanted was some deal that would help oil companies.

 

CRUZ you are exactly right and I'm going to say something that you will rarely here me say Nancy Pelosi and Chick Schumer and Harry Reed were exactly right. All of them said publicly republican leadership just funded our entire agenda. This is why – you know when Washington is completely befuddled, why are conservatives uniting behind Ted, why is there so much frustration with Washington? That sums it up there tired – we win elections we keep winning elections we won a tidal wave election in 2010. We won a tidal wave election in 2014. And republican leadership stands and tells the American people I'm sorry we can't stand for anything. That's why people are fed up but I'll tell you what, if a year from now I am elected president congress will once again pass a bill repealing Obamacare and I will sign it into law.

 

TAPPER well every republican will sign it into law if any of the republicans win and make it into the white house.

 

CRUZ but there is a difference, for it to happen you have to campaign on it you've got to fight on it. You've got to come out of this next election with a mandate from the people and I intend to make this next election a referendum on repealing Obamacare and passing a simple flat tax where every American can fill out their taxes on a post card and we can abolish the IRS.

 

TAPPER but you know a lot of your colleagues in the Senate and in the House in purple states or purple districts are worried about either you or Donald Trump being on top of the ticket. They worry that even if you win the White House you're going to be a drag on them. In Ohio, in New Hampshire or…

 

CRUZ: You are right that there are a lot of Washington political consultants that argue every election cycle the way for Republicans to win is run to the mushy middle, run a candidate that's Democrat-lite, and every time we do it we get clobbered. You know this is no longer a theory- you know as they say in the tech world, this has been beta-tested. The one thing that is abundantly clear is that if we nominate another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole, or a John McCain, or a Mitt Romney- and all three of those are good honorable decent men who love this country- but what they did didn't work. And by the way, in those purple states, all three of them got clobbered in the purple states, resulted in people losing other elections in the purple states. You wanna know how we win 2016? I think 2016 is going to be an election like 1980. That we are going to win by painting in bold colors, not pale pastels. You know Jake you've been on the road with me. At almost every stop here in Iowa people come up to me and say, I'm a Democrat. I've been a democrat my whole life. This morning there was a man who said I'm a Democrat, I'm a union member, my entire life, I've changed over I'm voting for you this time. At and event two stops ago an African American man came over and said I was supporting Hillary Clinton when I walked in here, I'm with you now because we're abandoning our values, we're forgetting who we are. You know it's worth remembering, in 50 years there's only one Republican who has a group of Democrats named after him- Reagan Democrats. If the Washington theory were right that you win crossover votes by running to the mushy middle we'd have Gerald Ford Democrats or Bob Dole Democrats or John McCain Democrats or Mitt Romney Democrats. We don't have that because you've got to give people a reason. In 1980 millions of FDR democrats, millions of people whose parents and grandparents had been democrats, crossed over to vote for Reagan because they said those are my values, you're fighting for what I care about. And I'll tell you, as we see the Democratic Party getting more and more radicalized, wage a war on the second amendment, on our right to keep and bear arms, wage a war on our religious liberty, wage a war on our basic freedoms, and then engage in this sort of bizarre politically correct view of radical Islamic terrorism where they won't even say the words. They're like ostriches with their heads in the sand. People are fed up with it.

 

TAPPER: I want to thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it.

 

CRUZ: Thank you, Jake, God bless.

 

TAPPER: Good luck, have fun out here in Iowa.

 

CRUZ: We are having a tremendous time.

 

 

 

 

###END INTERVIEW###

 

 

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