Occasionally a Republican can come to an epiphany when something they have adamantly opposed becomes personal. A senator or a congressman who has voted against stem cell research suddenly has a change of heart when a beloved grandchild comes down with a deadly disease, or if their own child comes out to them, their resistance to gay-friendly legislation suddenly softens.
Ted Cruz's own family history should make him amenable to immigration legislation, but apparently he prefers to climb the ladder of success and then saw off the rungs as he goes. When his father arrived in Austin in 1957 -- a teenage immigrant from Cuba bound for the University of Texas -- he spoke no English and had $100 sewn into his underwear. He worked his way through school as a dishwasher making 50 cents an hour. His mother -- of Irish-Italian descent and who grew up in Delaware, the first person in her family ever to attend college -- earned a math degree at Rice in the 1950s, working summers at Foley’s and Shell.
It's telling that a person could come from that background -- the panoply of the immigrant history of America -- and fail to notice the hurdles and obstacles that exist for others today who wish the same path for their children (never mind themselves).
1) The vast difference between Cuban immigration policy and that of all other Latinos;
2) Being able to work one's way through college on a 50 cents-an-hour job;
3) Achieving the classic American success story: Parents arrive with little money, one unable to speak the language, and still rise into the middle class, with a college degree and good jobs along the way.
These things were all possible in the America of Ted Cruz's parents because...
1) College used to be affordable for low income students;
2) The United States welcomed his father and gave him opportunity that did not exist to other brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking immigrants;
3) His father never had to hide in the shadows, fearful of deportation.
Ted Cruz got a good work ethic from his parents, earned a lofty education and also received dozens of opportunities not accorded others. Oh yeah, somewhere along the way he lost his soul. Or maybe he just sold it.
One thing is for certain: Ted Cruz was born without empathy. That is the hallmark of today's conservative: the more inhumane to others you can be, the brighter your prospects in the GOP.
Update: Why does this news come as no surprise to me?
In a report Thursday on NPR about how Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) father shaped his vision on immigration, his father, Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, an immigrant from Cuba, said that while he “came to this country legally,” he basically bribed an official to get to the United States.
“A friend of the family -- a lawyer friend of my father basically bribed a Batista official to stamp my passport with an exit permit,” the elder Cruz said.
This is not the way most Cubans emigrated to the United States in the '60's. One Cuban I knew very well, in fact, told a much braver story of leaving the country.