As a group of conservative GOP lawmakers and activists gathered last week behind closed doors to talk strategy ahead of the coming immigration battle with President Obama, one intriguing face was in the crowd: Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
Cruz is one of only two Hispanic Republicans in the Senate and if he chooses to actively join up with forces opposing a broad immigration bill in the looming legislative showdown, he would instantly become one of the party hardliners' most important voices and faces.
Cruz, a 42-year-old tea party favorite with Cuban heritage, has not been shy about his position on immigration. He knocked off a GOP establishment front-runner en route to the Senate last year, vehemently denying charges that he supported amnesty. He also opposed the so-called DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for those brought here illegally as children.
"I don't think the answer to our immigration problems is amnesty," Cruz said on CBS, the morning after his election.
It's still unclear how involved Cruz intends to be in mobilizing against the president's soon-to-be unveiled comprehensive immigration proposal. His office was close-lipped on Friday, declining to comment about the conservatives' get-together, saying the senator doesn't discuss private meetings.