As the current front runner in Iowa, Ted Cruz has drawn new attacks from Donald Trump – specifically, questions as to whether he is qualified to be president because he was born in Canada. During the media frenzy surrounding this new sound bite sparring match, which Cruz has dismissed out of hand, another interaction from Iowa has gone largely unnoticed.
At a campaign stop in Storm Lake, Iowa, on Wednesday night where he was joined by fellow anti-immigrant lawmaker Congressman Steve King, Cruz took a question from a young DACA recipient in the audience. She wanted to know what his policies would be concerning young people like her.
In a video of the exchange, shared by the Democratic National Committee on Thursday, her concerned is audible and real. “As a DACA holder myself,” she said, “I worry about …whoever comes next to the presidency and what’s going to happen to people like us.”
She spoke honestly to the presidential contender, explaining, “I think of myself as a part of this community,” a sentiment shared by immigrants across the country – many of whom Cruz would deport, if his campaign promises are to be believed. The young woman told Cruz that she was worried that one of the first actions of his presidency could be “…to deport people like me.”
In response, Cruz told her that her status as a DACA recipient means that she came to the country “illegally,” and that “violating the laws has consequences.” Completely disregarding her personal experience, and without a shred of compassion, Cruz proceeded to wax poetic about our “broken immigration system,” as if he was an innocent bystander swept up in a current of malformed constitutionality – and not a lawmaker who consistently reaffirms his disinterest in creating an immigration system that would offer better outcomes for DACA recipients and their families.
Riffing off a list of developed countries around the world, Cruz pointed to their immigration policies explaining that in any of these countries she would have been deported. “That’s what every other country on earth does.”
And, he said, so should America.
“There is no reason that America’s laws should have less respect than the laws of every other country on earth,” Cruz told the young woman, chastising her for choices that were out of her control. Finally, and to much applause, Cruz reaffirmed the importance of consequences, like deportation, for those who violate American laws because “…that is part of what makes America the nation that we are.”
Cruz is so committed to his right-wing xenophobic narrative that he could not even show this terrified young woman a shred of human decency. The Republican party has taken a stand on undocumented immigration that leaves no room for the humanity of those they pledge to deport, should they ever be given the chance. The loud applause that greeted his abhorrent statement leaves little doubt to where his supporters stand. Their America has no place for people like this young woman, and no room for negotiation on their policy. They have doubled down on hatred, and they are banking that this move will get them into the White House.
For this young woman’s sake, and the futures of so many others just like her, it is up to us to prove them wrong.