U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz will not threaten a government shutdown by seeking to attach a provision that ends the president's deportation-relief program for certain undocumented immigrants to a must-pass government funding bill, his spokeswoman said Wednesday night.
Despite speculation that Texas' junior senator was considering such a move in order to prevent President Obama from expanding what Cruz deems "amnesty" for some young adults brought illegally into the country as children, Cruz press secretary Catherine Frazier said the "only people talking about shutdowns are Democrats and the media.”
“What the senator wants, what he has been urging his Democratic colleagues, is to vote on a bill that will stop the president from expanding amnesty," Frazier said.
Cruz called a news conference on Tuesday where he urged lawmakers to halt President Obama’s deferred action program, which grants certain undocumented immigrants a two-year reprieve from deportation proceedings and a work permit. Cruz, who was joined by U.S. Reps. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, and Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, has blamed deferred action for the unprecedented surge of unaccompanied and undocumented minors arriving at Texas’ southern border.
Cruz’s comments on Tuesday that like-minded lawmakers “should use any and all means necessary to prevent the president from illegally granting amnesty” were seen as a veiled threat that he would throw a wrench into the debate over a continuing resolution to keep the government funded.
Obama has said he won't take any further executive action on immigration reform until after the November election — widely seen as him capitulating to vulnerable Democrats whose reelections could hinge on immigration issues.