One of the livelier parts of Tuesday night's GOP debate in Las Vegas was a sparring match between Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz on the issue of illegal immigration. Discussing the debate on radio Wednesday, Glenn opened up with some of his own feelings on the touchy subject, admitting what he was going to say was "really unpopular."
But first, some context from the debate.
Rubio accused Cruz of supporting the legalization of illegal immigrants in the U.S., referencing Cruz's support of an increase in H-1B visas and green cards. Cruz shot back by calling out Rubio on attempting to conflate legal with illegal immigration. Later, Cruz delivered a statement critics have held up as evidence of a weak immigration policy. The statement:
I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization.
With "intend" being the key word here, some people have interpreted Cruz to be noncommittal in his immigration stance. Glenn, on the other hand, expressed admiration for the Texas Senator's choice of words --- especially in a world where "unless you deal with absolutes, nobody wants to talk about it."
He went on to share his own personal feelings on immigration and amnesty, prefacing it with the warning:
"I'm going to say something really unpopular," Glenn said.
What did he say? Watch the clip or read the transcript below.
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
GLENN: I'm going to say something really unpopular. But this is true. This is the way I feel. I would fight and fight and fight and fight to have self-deportation happen to where we cut -- we choke the jobs off. We choke the welfare off. We choke the hospitals off. We choke all of the draws that are bringing people into this country and keeping them here. I want to choke all of that off.
That will cause self-deportation in many of the cases. The rest of it, you do have to go and find these people and say, "You're -- we're evicting you. You're out." We do deport anybody who has broken the law. Well, that takes care of a lot of stuff. Then I want a wall. I -- in fact, I don't do anything without a wall. I don't do anything without real security. And it's damn near permanent because I don't want the next guy coming in, in four years and being able to turn it off. We have to have security and know who is coming in to our country and who is going out. I want all of the visas. I want to know exactly who is here, who has overstayed, and if they're overstayed, fine them and get them out of here.
So I want all those things done without question. But let's just say all of those things have just been done. Are you telling me that you will not consider somebody who has been here for 30 years and you go, "Look. I don't know. I don't even know what to do." Say you've been here for 30 years, what do I do? When all of those other things are done, you won't at least consider them?
STU: I think, yeah. I mean, I think the -- I think there's still a problem with, you know, giving someone a pass because they've broken -- you've said this before, because someone has broken a crime for three decades instead of six months, they shouldn't be worse. It's actually worse.
GLENN: They're five years old when they get here. And I'm not saying -- I'm not suggesting that we give it to them. I'm just saying, I will sit down -- after all those other things are done, I will sit down and say, "Okay. If you were five when you got here, what are we going to do? You are an American at this point. You've been in this system. And it's no fault of your own. What do we do?"
Now, I'm not having that conversation at all, ever, with anyone, except me and probably my wife until I get everything else done. Once everything else is done, then I'll be willing to say to the other side, "Okay. Well, let's look at that 5-year-old who is now 35 and see what we can do." Because now I've -- I've turned the water off.
GLENN: The basement isn't flooding anymore.
Featured Image Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), on stage during the CNN republican presidential debate at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Thirteen Republican presidential candidates are participating in the fifth set of Republican presidential debates. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)