WASHINGTON -- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had two people to blame on Sunday for the surge of child migrants detained by U.S. border security this year: President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
"Ill tell you who is holding these kids ransom -- [it] is Harry Reid and the president because their view is, 'Don't do anything to fix the problem,'" Cruz said on "Fox News Sunday."
Cruz was responding to Reid's earlier claim that "Republicans would rather hold these kids ransom" than consider bipartisan immigration reform legislation.
"He mentions comprehensive immigration reform," Cruz said. "The Gang of Eight bill is one of the causes of this problem. What the kids are saying is they are coming because they believe they will get amnesty. Part of the Gang of Eight bill promising amnesty."
Cruz chiefly blamed Obama's 2012 executive action, which deferred deportation for some undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, for enticing migrants with a promise of amnesty.
The Texas Republican is pushing legislation that would undo the president's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.
Interviewer Chris Wallace asked Cruz whether his opposition to comprehensive immigration reform, which pairs increased border security with a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, would ultimately prevent Republicans from getting the increased border security they want.
"What I'm interested in is fixing the problem," Cruz said. "It's only Washington. All of the proposals being floated are missing the cause of the problem."
Wallace pressed Cruz on how stopping Obama's deferred action would help the kids who are already here, having fled violence in central America.
"Continuing this regime where tens of thousands of kids are being brutalized by drug dealers is not humane, is not compassionate," Cruz said, not directly answering the question. "That's what Democrats and Harry Reid want to do."