Cruz’ Nightmare For DREAMers

From Politico‘s Manu Raju and Burgess Everett comes a scenario so plausible that you start believing it will happen even if the specific evidence isn’t there: Ted Cruz derailing his own Texas congressional delegation’s strategy for dealing with the administration on the border refugee crisis, and instead engineering a high-stakes confrontation aimed at deporting the DREAMers who benefited from Obama’s 2012 initiative giving them a break.

The conservative firebrand believes that any bill to deal with the unaccompanied migrant children at the border must also include language to stop a 2012 immigration directive from President Barack Obama — a proposal unlikely to go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

That’s a much tougher approach than the one being sought by Cruz’s fellow Texans — GOP Sen. John Cornyn and Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar — who would leave the directive alone. Instead, they would toughen a 2008 human trafficking law while speeding up immigration proceedings and authorizing 40 more judges to handle the cases. The Obama administration has expressed openness to revisiting the 2008 law, and the Texans’ plan could be included in a spending measure that will soon be considered by the GOP-controlled House.

Yeah, you can just see Cruz publicly rallying House conservatives against the “sellout” plan, intimidating Cornyn into discussions of abandoning his own bill, undermining Democratic support for Cuellar, and maybe managing to hold up the August recess, which is a big deal in an election year.

The fact that the very idea of Cruz initiating such destruction is almost enough to make you predict it is a sign of the invisible power he accrued during last year’s government shutdown crisis: as with Dick Butkus in his heyday, you never run a play without figuring out where he is and what he’s doing. It’s often said that with power comes responsibility. But sometimes irresponsibility generates power.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.