Texas Sen. Ted Cruz blasted Senate Democrats on Monday, saying they are "willing to stand in pure party line vote" in support of releasing undocumented immigrants who are "murderers and rapists" to protect the president.
"The Democrats are getting more and more open that they are the party of illegal immigration," he said. "They support amnesty. They support releasing criminal illegal aliens."
Cruz made the remarks to Iowa radio host Simon Conway while explaining a law he introduced that Cruz said cuts off federal funding to sanctuary cities that fail to enforce federal immigration law and sets a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison for those who illegally reenter the country with an aggravated felony conviction.
The Texas senator praised Republican leadership for bringing the bill to a vote, but said he anticipated that "virtually every Senate Democrat will vote party line in support of sanctuary cities, in support of allowing violent criminal illegal aliens to go free."
He added that, while he hoped the bill would make it to the president's desk, thereby forcing a veto, he thought Democrats would use the filibuster to prevent that from happening.
The Republican presidential candidate then made a slightly revised version of a claim he's made in the past, saying that in 2013 "the Obama administration released to the public over 103,000 criminal illegal aliens," including "196 murderers and "nearly 400 illegal aliens with sexual assault convictions."
"It does not make sense to be releasing murderers and rapists and yet sadly Senate Democrats are willing to stand in pure party line vote in support of doing just that," he concluded.
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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