“Ted really would like to do some real immigration reform in a way that doesn’t alienate Hispanic voters, but the path that they’ve gone down is not something he’s going to support,” said the adviser, who declined to be identified.

“It gives too much control to the Obama administration, allowing them to do studies that he doesn’t believe they have any good intention of doing. The big picture is not a bad sell, it’s when you dive in, that’s where the devil lies. You’ll see Cruz focus on the flaws of the details rather than attacking it on the big picture.”

But while the adviser insisted Cruz’s position isn’t being calibrated with an eye toward a 2016 White House run, he concedes that being a leader of the opposition to “amnesty” would be helpful in early primary states like South Carolina, where the senator is scheduled to address a state GOP dinner on Friday. National Review reports that Cruz is seriously considering a presidential bid.

The adviser also points out that other reform advocates include John McCain, as well as prominent liberal Democrats such as Chuck Schumer: “I think Marco’s kind of hurt himself here, with the Republican base.” (A Cruz spokeswoman said the senator was too busy for an interview.)