While Donald Trump’s stance on illegal immigration is being softened to some extent, his former rival for the presidency, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas is going all out to block illegal immigrants from getting means-tested welfare benefits and from having a path to citizenship. Cruz has filed a number of amendments to an immigration reform bill that would accomplish both goals.

One amendment would block anyone who entered or remained in the country (by outstaying their visa) from receiving any welfare benefit or from being enrolled for health care insurance under Obamacare regardless of their current status.

That means even if an illegal immigrant has his or her status legalized they would be prohibited from getting federal, state, or local benefits. Another amendment would block the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

The two amendments would remove an incentive for people crossing the border illegally or overstaying their visa. The act of breaking immigration laws would bar illegal immigrants from gaining public benefits and from obtaining citizenship. The flow of illegal immigrants into the United States would be diminished as a result, at least so goes the theory. Those who are in the country already illegally and who had been on public assistance would have an incentive to return to their country of origin.

Not coincidentally, the amendments would position Cruz as a hardliner on illegal immigration just while Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, has started to back away from his plan to deport all 11 million of those who are in the country illegally. Cruz can claim that he and not Trump is the purest opponent of illegal immigration.

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Of course, it goes without saying that an immigration reform bill with Cruz’s provisions would be filibustered by Senate Democrats or vetoed by President Obama if it came to his desk. The amendments would block a long-held dream by Democrats of giving citizenship to illegal immigrants in exchange for their votes. Compassion for illegal immigrants is the excuse for Democrats’ support for amnesty. Raw political power and a permanent majority are the real reasons.