Cruz Tries to Get to Trump’s Right on Immigration

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GOP Presidential Candidates Debate In Charleston
An immigration-policy debate dominated by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz is taking the GOP into wacko-bird territory.Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

You’d think Steve King’s support would be sufficient to satisfy Iowa nativists about Ted Cruz’s acceptability on immigration policy. But as caucus night approaches with Cruz and Donald Trump locked in a close race, the Texan has decided to accuse the Donald of actually being all squishy on his signature subject. In an interview, Cruz suggested Trump’s proposals for letting deported undocumented immigrants get back in line for legal immigration amounted to “amnesty”:

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So Donald Trump’s position is once you deport them, it’s what’s called touchback. A lot of establishment Republicans had touchback,” Cruz said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “Basically you make them fly back to their country for a minute, touch the ground, and then they come back with amnesty as citizens. Now, Donald is entitled to do that. He can advance that position, but he doesn’t get to pretend that it’s not amnesty if he’s legalizing 12 million people [who are] here illegally.”

If the Trump-Cruz competition continues much longer at its current level of intensity, Lord knows what they will be talking about when the later primaries come around: maybe global surveillance of deportees, or indelible tattoos.