The amnesty question missing from last night’s debate

The amnesty question missing from last night’s debate


During last night’s GOP presidential debate, the immigration issue was brought up again. While the candidates stumbled over themselves to sound tough on immigration making comments condemning sanctuary cities, talking about building a better border wall, protecting American workers, and opposing amnesty, one question that could have been asked of all the candidates was where they stand on the Cuban Adjustment Act (Cuban Amnesty).

The Cuban Adjustment Act allows Cubans who reach U.S. soil to become permanent residents within a year. Cuban migrants don’t even have to enter the U.S. through a port of entry.

Senators Ted Cruz, whose father came to the U.S. from Cuba, and Marco Rubio, who frequently shares his family’s story of leaving Cuba, both expressed their opposition to amnesty. Ted Cruz said, “A majority of the men and women on this stage have previously and publicly embraced amnesty. I am the only candidate on this stage who has never supported amnesty.” Cruz was referring to how the candidates had supported various paths to legalization and/or citizenship. Notably, Marco Rubio had been a member of the “Gang of Eight” which a few years ago was pushing for a comprehensive immigration bill that did include a path to citizenship.

The question that could have been asked of Cruz and then followed up with Rubio is whether they support “Cuban amnesty,” the immigration policy that makes it hard for Cuban migrants to be undocumented. Rubio has previously indicated that the law pertaining to Cubans should be re-examined, but it doesn’t seem that Cruz has been asked about this policy in the context of the current discourse on immigration within the GOP race. If these candidates are as “anti-amnesty” as they suggest, shouldn’t they be asked to comment on the policy that helped their family gain mobility in this country?


Photo credit: Screenshot via CNN Reagan Library Republican Debate Live Update September 16, 2015 Part 2