Ted Cruz says he would deport America's 12 million undocumented immigrants

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Politicians don't typically go on The O'Reilly Factor to announce their reasonable, nuanced policies.

During an appearance on the Fox News political talk sow, Sen. Ted Cruz said he would instruct Immigration and Customs Enforcement to round up and deport all undocumented immigrants in the U.S., estimated by O'Reilly to be about 12 million people.

The exchange between O'Reilly and Cruz, wherein O'Reilly uses the antiquated term "illegal alien," goes as follows:

O'REILLY: Would you round up 12 million illegal aliens here, and if so, how?

CRUZ: Listen, we should enforce the law. How do we enforce the law? Yes, we should deport them. We should build a wall, we should triple the Border Patrol. Federal law requires that anyone here illegally that’s apprehended should be deported.

O'REILLY: Would you go look for them, though? Mr. Trump would look for them to get them out. Would you do that if you were president?

CRUZ: Look, Bill, of course you would. That’s what ICE exists for. We have law enforcement that looks for people who are violating the laws, that apprehends them and deports them.


Beyond the fact that such a deportation would cause untold misery for millions of people, a 2015 study found that an attempt to deport all undocumented immigrants would cost between $400 and $600 billion and take 20 years to complete. And that's not taking into account the damage to GDP and economic growth losing such a huge part of the American workforce would cause.

But the idea of mass deportations is still a popular one on the right. Donald Trump has long been in favor of a similar plan, while Marco Rubio has said he would eliminate a program that protects undocumented immigrants who arrived as children from deportation.

Earlier in the campaign, Cruz had told CNN that he would not have a "deportation force," such as the one suggested by Donald Trump, were he elected president.

"No, I don't intend to send jackboots to knock on your door and every door in America. That's not how we enforce the law for any crime," Cruz said.


Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier claimed in an email to the Dallas Morning News that Cruz's policy had never changed, and that he has always been in favor of having ICE deport every undocumented immigrant in the country.

It says a lot that the Cruz campaign's main concern about this policy is people might think he is being inconsistent.

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