Cruz entered Alabama in some ways on his back foot, having spent the week explaining why he said during Tuesday’s debate that he “never” supported legalization of undocumented immigrants, despite language he used during the 2013 immigration reform debate in Congress that indicated otherwise. The usually unflappable Cruz, prone to delivering eloquent, if lengthy, soliloquies in interviews, stumbled in several major national appearances this week, particularly on Fox News, when pressed on the subject. Marco Rubio was part of the group that worked on immigration reform, and his camp has been pushing the narrative the Cruz is inconsistent on the issue.
On Saturday, Cruz sought to show he was back in command.
“We are going to deport criminal illegal aliens, we are going to pass Kate’s Law [requiring mandatory minimum sentencing for illegal immigrants who are deported and then return], we are going to end welfare benefits for those here illegally,” he said, bringing many in the audience gathered here at a civic center to their feet. “For anyone who wonders, ‘Can we really secure the border?’ I’ve got three words for you: Secretary Jeff Sessions! You want to talk about a homeland security secretary who would go down and build the wall himself!”