Cruz: 'It's offensive' that 'amnesty' opponents are labeled anti-immigrant

Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenators near deal on sexual harassment policy change Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Five Republican run-offs to watch in Texas MORE says he finds it "offensive" that people call him anti-immigrant for being a foe of "amnesty."

"For those of us who believe that people ought to come to this country legally and that we should enforce the law, we're tired of being told it's anti-immigrant," Cruz told a cheering, whistling crowd in Milwaukee, Wis., at the Republican presidential debate Tuesday night.
 
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"It's offensive," Cruz said.
 
"The Democrats are laughing. Because if Republicans join Democrats as the party of amnesty, we will lose."
 
Opponents of programs that would give people who entered the country illegally the ability to get legal status or even citizenship call such policies "amnesty."
 
The Texas senator — who is surging in recent polls and is increasingly seen as a serious contender for the GOP nomination — said the media would put a different slant on the immigration debate if white-collar workers rather than poor people were pouring across the border.
 
"I understand that when mainstream media covers immigration it doesn't often see it as an economic issue," he said. 
 
But the politics of immigration "would be very, very different if a bunch of lawyers or bankers were crossing the Rio Grande," Cruz added.
 
"Or if a bunch of people with journalism degrees were coming over and driving down the wages in the press."
 
The Republican crowd cheered and laughed. 
 
"Then we would see stories about the economic calamity that is befalling our nation," Cruz continued.
 
Cruz, who is trying to rival billionaire Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRed states find there’s no free pass on Medicaid changes from Trump Trump meets with Moon in crucial moment for Korea summit The Memo: Trump flirts with constitutional crisis MORE for his hard-line stance on border security, suggested that no other sovereign nation would be as lax as the United States is. 
 
"Try going illegally into another country," Cruz said. "Try going to China, or Japan. Try going into Mexico. See what they do. 
 
"Every sovereign nation secures its borders," he added.
 
"And it is not compassionate to say we are not going to enforce the law and we are going to drive down the wages for millions of hardworking men and women."