By Megan R. Wilson - 07/19/14 03:24 PM EDT
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Saturday urged supporters to sign a petition to end what he said was “Obama’s amnesty,” a program authorized Obama that allows certain undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. without fear of being deported.
Cruz took to social media on Saturday to spur attention to his proposals.
Cruz argues the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has spurred a wave of child immigrants from Central America to seek illegal entry into the United States, creating a crisis at the border.
The Tea Party favorite is pushing legislation that would defund the program to prevent it from being expanded. Cruz says his bill should be a part of any broader package approved by Congress to deal with the crisis.
President Obama has proposed a $3.7 billion supplemental spending bill that would provide funding for authorities to care for the immigrants, and money to help the judicial system send them back to their home countries more quickly.
Obama made a declaration in 2012 that said certain children who entered or stayed in the country illegally before 2007 may be protected from deportation.
Cruz blames the policy, among others, for the thousands of children now thinking they will be given protection by coming to the United States.
“That’s the message that’s being heard. And the reason these children are coming in staggering numbers is because the president has been promising amnesty,” Cruz said recently.
His office also points to a 2001 memo from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that tells officials to “use discretion in deciding which apprehended violators of immigration law should be removed from the country, taking particular care with veterans, long-time legal permanent residents, minors, elderly individuals, pregnant or nursing women and individuals here since childhood, among particular people,” according to a report.
The website that hosts the petition is paid for by a joint fundraising committee called the Ted Cruz Victory Committee, which comprised of his campaign and leadership political action committees.
Obama isn’t the first president to provide some relief to undocumented immigrants, either. President George W. Bush signed a law in 2008 that would allow unaccompanied minors that enter the country and stay long enough to apply for asylum.
Cruz’s website, however, features a chart that shows an increase in the number of unaccompanied minors since Obama’s proclamation from 2012.