Ted Cruz on Immigration: GOP Presidential Candidate Finds Trouble With the Spanish Language
U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz has received criticism for his Spanish-language campaign advertisement despite making controversial comments about bilingual people.
Cruz, a Republican U.S. senator for Texas, announced his bid for the White House on March 23, which included the release of a 30-second Spanish-language campaign video that references he's the son of a Cuban immigrant. Cruz did not narrate the video, nor has he spoken in Spanish in public events.
In June 2012, then-Senate candidate Cruz refused to have a Republican primary debate in Spanish, stating, "Most Texans speak English. If we were in Mexico, if we were in Cuba, we do the debate in Spanish. ... My Spanish is lousy." According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas' Latino population is 38.4 percent, more than double the national average of 17.1 percent. He later added, "[My opponent] wants to do a debate in a language where the vast majority of primary voters don't understand it, because he doesn't want them to hear about his record."
The Cruz's Spanish-language video does not reference policies or issues, but his personal upbringing. The English-language video, however, is two minutes and 20 minutes in length and features Cruz narrating his policies against the Affordable Care Act and President Barack Obama's immigration executive action.
Cruz's "lousy" Spanish could be a disadvantage against two other potential GOP presidential candidates. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is fluent in Spanish and married to a Mexican-American philanthropist while Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is bilingual and son of Cuban American immigrants.
Cruz's view of the Spanish language continued during his 2012 campaign while attending an event in Austin. In response to a question about expanding unemployment benefits, Cruz detailed the story of his father's flight from Cuba to Texas in 1957.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Cruz said, "When my father came over here penniless with $100 sewn into his underwear, thank God some well-meaning liberal didn't come put his arm around him and say, 'Let me take care of you. Let me put you on the government dole [and] rob you of your self respect. And by the way, don't bother to learn English. Let me keep you in a language ghetto.'"
Cruz added the traditional "American Dream" is being destroyed by allowing people to continue using their native language and rely on government aid. Later, Cruz clarified that he is not worried about offending Latino voters about his statement in Austin. The then-senate candidate he wants immigrants to quickly learn English in the same manner immigrants from the several decades were pressured to learn the language.
As Latin Post reported, nearly 62 percent of U.S. Latino adults speak English or are bilingual. The Pew Research Center found that adults born to immigrant parents are most likely to communicate in both English and Spanish. In the meantime, the percentages of Latino adults who speak English vary by age and the amount of time the immigrants have spent in the U.S.
Cruz, first name Rafael, was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, through his Cuban father and American-citizen mother. He defended his right to run for the presidency, stating, "My parents -- as a legal matter, my mother is an American citizen by birth, and it's been federal law for two centuries, that the child for an American citizen born abroad is a natural citizen by birth, which is what the Constitution requires to run."
Cruz also "snubbed" an appearance at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)'s Legislative Summit this week. According to USHCC President and CEO Javier Palomarez, Cruz "chose not to come" to the summit, which included speeches by U.S. senators and political leaders about Latinos' impact on the U.S. economy.
For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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