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Cruz push for doubling of immigrants raised again

Plans pushed by GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz under the immigration reform debate in 2013 that would have jumped the number of immigrants, including those from Muslim nations, were raised by the Trump campaign Tuesday.

Under the Cruz plan, yearly legal immigration would have gone from 740,000 to 1,675,000. He said his idea was to actually help kill the bill not boost the numbers.

"I was introducing a whole series of amendments, in part to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the Democrats. So, for example, the Democrats claimed they were supporting high-tech workers, so I introduced an amendment on that, every Democrat voted against it, which demonstrated that this was all a political endeavor for them, that what they were saying wasn't true," he told radio's Laura Ingraham.

Donald Trump's advisor Stephen Miller raised the issue on Fox Business, claiming the amendments would have "substantially increased" Muslim migration.

Secrets recently reported that the administration has approved more immigrants from Muslim nations over the next five years than the entire population of Washington, D.C.

Figures from the Department of Homeland Security show that the president has already issued 680,000 green cards to immigrants from Muslim nations over the past five years. Unless Congress changes his policy, that number will be repeated in the next five years.

Under the Cruz amendments, shown in full below, the yearly cap on green cards would have increased from 675,000 to 1.35 million, not including refugees and asylees.

A second amendment would have boosted the H-1B visa cap for high-tech workers from 65,000 to 325,000.

The legislation never passed and Cruz has been critical of Obama's open borders. He has offered a bill to tighten restrictions on H-1B visas.

On Tuesday, he hit Trump for suggesting that the U.S. reconsider how much it spends overseas and he lashed out against Islamic terrorism.

"Radical Islam is at war with us. For over seven years we have had a president who refuses to acknowledge this reality. And the truth is, we can never hope to defeat this evil so long as we refuse to even name it," Cruz said. "That ends on January 20, 2017, when I am sworn in as president. We will name our enemy — radical Islamic terrorism. And we will defeat it."

Two Cruz immigration amendments from his Senate webpage:

Cruz 1324: Green Card (LPR) reform to modernize, streamline and expand legal immigration

This amendment would streamline and simplify our legal immigration system by consolidating segmented visas, creating real and transparent caps, eliminating the diversity visa lottery, and treating all immigrants equally by eliminating the per-country caps.

Provisions of his amendment include:

Doubling the overall worldwide green card caps from 675,000 visas per year to 1.35 million per year (not including refugees and asylees):

Employment-based green cards: Consolidates the 5 existing employment-based visas into a single high-skilled employment-based visa.

Family-based green cards: Creates a single family-based visa category that treats all immigrant families equally by redefining "immediate relatives" as "spouses, minor children, and parents of citizens or LPRs."

Treating immigrants from all countries equally by eliminating the diversity visa program and the per-country visa caps: Currently, immigrants of identical skill may experience drastically different wait times and burdens based merely on their country of origin. Not only is this inequitable, it hurts our ability to attract the best and brightest.

Reducing bureaucracy: Creates a user-friendly online portal where visa applicants can apply and obtain updates on their application.

Cruz 1325: Increase high-skilled temporary worker visas (H-1B visas) five-fold

This amendment would improve our nation's legal immigration system by increasing the H-1B cap from 65,000 to 325,000. It would also help America retain the people it educates by authorizing dual-intent student visas and address the need for high-skilled labor by creating a block grant to promote domestic high-skilled workers.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com