Republican Senator Ted Cruz is standing strong against the movement to provide a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and preventing progress for immigration reform. The Texas senator has somewhat backed down and given way recently, accepting what the numbers indicate, that Republicans must recognize the growing threat that their poor repertoire with immigrants, Latinos, and Hispanics will cost them dearly in future elections.

Despite recent reports that immigration reform would positively benefit the economy, and thereby Americans at large, many Republicans, like Cruz, remain obstinate. As a senator, Cruz’s obligation, his duty, is to serve the best interest of the people and, at times, follow that interest to its end, even if it should be to the detriment of his popular political career. The senator’s current actions seem more dependent on popular opinion than reasoned morality and his deplorable scapegoating of immigrants’ safety is little more than an effort to prevent the further decline of the GOP.

Yesterday, Cruz codified his contempt for those illegal immigrants. Cruz stated that extending citizenship to those immigrants that are here illegally, lessens, cheapens or is unfair in some way to those who made the effort through conventional means to become legal citizens of this country.

Cruz argued that the current legislation, despite allocating billions of dollars for revamping border security, undermines humanity as hundreds die annually trying to cross the border. In a session on the Senate floor, Cruz claimed that the current bill from the Gang of Eight leaves “vulnerable women and children” to “die in the desert” at the hands of “corrupt coyotes and drug dealers.”

With citizenship comes the right to vote, and despite all of Cruz’s high-minded speech for the wellbeing of immigrants, Cruz is actually playing partisan politics and guarding the Republican party’s ever-slipping grasp on the vote. In the Republican party’s own report on the matter, they found overwhelmingly that the Hispanic population votes for Democratic candidates as opposed to Republican ones.

Cruz’s trick is to convince the public that he is interested in what is really good for the American people and the tired argument is that by somehow extending citizenship to others, it is degraded for those who have it – as though citizenship is a dilutable resource, of which there is not enough to go around. Given the Republican party’s problem with public appeal, the Senator seems to be trying to strike a happy middle ground with his own ideals. “Give them residency, but deny them the vote,” seems mantra for these ideologues.

Joshua is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.