Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday introduced legislation that would defund the Obama administration program that allows some illegal immigrants to remain in the country without fear of deportation.
Cruz is pressing to have the bill linked to the emergency funding that President Obama has requested to deal with the recent surge of Central American children illegally crossing into the United States.
Cruz’s bill, the text of which was released Thursday afternoon, would prevent the federal government from spending money to process any new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which forestalls the threat of deportation for some people who illegally came to the country as children before 2007.
The bill would also restrict the government from authorizing any person to work in the United States who was not "lawfully admitted into the United States."
Cruz has blamed the DACA program for the recent flood of more than 57,000 unaccompanied child immigrants apprehended crossing the border this year. The bill refers to the program as being created "unlawfully" by the administration in 2012.
The administration has acknowledged the recent influx has been exacerbated by the spread of false information about U.S. immigration policy and has stressed that children entering the country now would not be eligible for deferred action.
The administration has also attributed the increase on violence and crime in Central America.
Cruz will also introduce a number of other proposals to speed up the deportation process of the recent flood of children and to allow border-state governors to send the National Guard to the border using federal funds. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has been making a similar call for years.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) blasted Cruz's proposal on the Senate floor earlier in the day, saying the individuals who qualify for the DACA program are in the country legitimately.
“What the junior senator from Texas said [is] we’re not going to do this unless we deport all these children who came here before, the so-called 'Dreamers,’ ” he said. “Once again we see there are no substantive solutions being offered by the Republican Party.”
— This story was updated at 6:43 p.m.