"Listen, we should enforce the law. How do we enforce the law? Yes, we should deport them," the Texas senator told Fox News's Bill O'Reilly on Monday.
"We should build a wall, we should triple the border patrol," Cruz added, emphasizing that "federal law requires that anyone here illegally that's apprehended should be deported."
"That's what ICE exists for," Cruz added during another exchange. "We have law enforcement that looks for people who are violating the law, that apprehends them and deports them."
O'Reilly brought up a hypothetical example of an Irish immigrant with kids who had settled in Long Island, N.Y. — O'Reilly's home.
"And you, President Cruz, are going to send the feds to his house, take him out and put him on a plane back to Ireland?" the host asked.
"You better believe it," Cruz responded.
“No, I don’t intend to send jack boots to knock on your door and every door in America, that’s not the way we enforce the law for any crime,” Cruz told
CNN's Jake Tapper at the time.
A Cruz spokesperson insisted
to The Dallas Morning News that there was "no change" in Cruz's position, saying that "Cruz has been very clear: people who are here illegally should be deported. That is the law today. Period."
Cruz finished a disappointing third in Saturday's South Carolina primary.