03/25/2013 10:09 am ET Updated Mar 25, 2013

Ted Cruz: Obama Intentionally Trying To 'Crater' Immigration Effort

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) believes President Barack Obama has a bad motive behind his push for immigration reform, he told The Dallas Morning News in an interview published on Sunday.

"[Obama's] behavior concerning immigration leads me to believe that what he wants is a political issue rather than actually to pass a bill," the freshman senator said, repeating one of his common criticisms of the president. "What he wants is for the bill to crater, so that he can use the issue as a political wedge in 2014 and 2016. That is why I believe the president is insisting on a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally. Because by insisting on that, he ensures that any immigration reform bill will be voted down in the House."

"I think the greatest obstacle to passing common sense immigration reform is President Barack Obama," he added later.

Obama announced after the November election -- in which Latino voters supportive of reform backed him by huge margins -- that he would pursue comprehensive plans. He has vowed that reform must include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the country. Some Republicans have hopped on board, but Cruz isn't likely to be one of them, particularly on the point of allowing undocumented immigrants to eventually become citizens.

Cruz explained there are some measures he might support, such as creating more border enforcement, simplifying the legal immigration process and allowing more high-skilled immigrants into the country. A bill along those lines would receive bipartisan support, he said. Legislation being crafted by the so-called "gang of eight" in the Senate will include those measures, but also a pathway to citizenship.

Cruz has said before that he thinks Obama is being disingenuous about his desire to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

"His objective is to push so much on the table that he forces Republicans to walk away from the table because then he wants to use that issue in 2014 and 2016 as a divisive wedge issue," Cruz said in February, The Dallas Morning News reported at the time.



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