Here’s the relevant passage, presented unedited and in full, from that 35 minute interview with Cruz, conducted in Houston at the Free Enterprise Institute think thank that the senator credits with helping to form his political world view:
Examiner: Is the problem with the “Gang of Eight” bill that it has “legalization first,” or that it has a “path to citizenship?” In other words, what if it was “legalization first,” but they stopped at “green card,” and that was it?
Cruz: Both. If you look at the Senate Judiciary Committee, I introduced five amendments. One was a border security amendment that put real teeth in the border security, which the Gang of Eight doesn’t have. And, it fixed the problem of legalization first. In 1986, Congress offered the American people, we’ll do legalization first and sometime in the future we’ll secure the border. What happened in ’86? The amnesty happened; the border never got secured. So the amendment I introduced fixed that and said: Secure the border first and then legalization. But I also offered a separate amendment to remove the path to citizenship. Now, notably, that amendment didn’t alter the underlying legalization in the Gang of Eight bill. The affect if that amendment had been adopted is that the 11 million people who are here illegally, once the border was secured would have been allowed a work permit and indeed would have been eligible for a green card but not for citizenship because I think there needs to be some consequence for having broken the law.