At the insistence of Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchOvernight Finance: US preps cases linking North Korea to Fed heist | GOP chair says Dodd-Frank a 2017 priority | Chamber pushes lawmakers on Trump's trade pick | Labor nominee faces Senate US Chamber urges quick vote on USTR nominee Lighthizer Live coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing MORE (R-Utah), immigrants would not be eligible for ObamaCare benefits in addition to other mean-tested welfare until after they've gained citizenship.
"What has this nation come to? It’s getting harder and harder to recognize America," Cruz said. "We're now considering a law that is thinly disguised as human trafficking."
Cruz said the bill creates a “$5,000 amnesty tax” for employers, causing them to fire U.S. employees and hire immigrants to avoid paying the penalty. He added that if this bill passes, unemployment for minorities and legal immigrants will increase.
The bipartisan group of eight senators, known as the Gang of Eight, introduced S. 744, which would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, toughen border security, create a guest worker program and boost high-skilled immigration.
Cruz asked to call up his amendment, but Democrats objected. Cruz said his amendment would have defunded the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, until no more immigrants had RPI status — which would be at least 10 years.