Later Tuesday, the Senate will vote on whether to proceed to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.
Some Republicans have complained that the legislation would provide amnesty over 10 years for the nearly 11 million residents in the country illegally before strengthening border enforcement.
Cruz said that there aren’t enough votes in the House to pass the pathway to citizenship laid out in the Gang of Eight’s bill.
“There are not 218 votes on the other side, in the House, to pass a pathway to citizenship,” Cruz said. “Right now, in my opinion, this bill is headed toward failure. … Absent major revisions, this bill will crash and burn in the House, and I believe it is designed to do so.”
Cruz said he thinks the bill will pass the Senate easily, but that Senate Democrats have been unwilling to allow amendments to the bill that would help it pass the House.
“I very much want common-sense immigration reform to pass. This bill will pass the Senate, but it will not pass the House,” Cruz said. “As written, this bill would not become law.”
Before Cruz spoke, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a member of the Gang of Eight, said a pathway to citizenship was a principle within the immigration bill that Democrats would not compromise on.
“We will not leave these 11 million people in immigration limbo forever,” Schumer said on the floor Tuesday. “We’re not interested in scoring a political victory to help a political party. We’re interested in changing the status quo to make America a better place … but one thing we will never do is condition the pathway to citizenship on measure that will never happen.”
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Schumer, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) comprise the Gang of Eight.
The Senate is expected to continue work on the immigration reform bill throughout June.