Hong Kong

Ted Cruz, Chinese Communist Party Agree: Keep Hongkongers Trapped in China

Cruz not only dimmed America's status as a bastion of freedom for the world's oppressed people, but spat upon his own heritage as the son of a political refugee.


More than most members of Congress, Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) understands the desperation of individuals fleeing autocratic communist regimes.

Cruz's father, Rafael, fled Cuba in 1957 with little more than a student visa and $100 sewn into his underwear—an oft-repeated detail that effectively conveys both the fear and hopefulness of the refugee experience. The other details in the story are familiar to anyone who has followed Cruz's career, even in passing, given the prominence of those personal details in the senator's speeches. Rafael bribed his way out of Cuba, reached the United States, enrolled in college, worked as a dishwasher, earned his degree, and eventually started a successful business. Importantly, he was granted political asylum when his student visa expired.

If not for that last detail, it's highly unlikely that Rafael's son would have ever had the chance to stand on the floor of the U.S. Senate and declare, as he did on Friday, that America ought to make it more difficult for individuals and families to flee other oppressive communist regimes. In blocking the passage of a bill that would have granted political asylum to anyone fleeing Hong Kong due to the Chinese government's takeover of the formerly semi-autonomous city, Cruz not only dimmed America's status as a bastion of freedom for the world's oppressed people, but spat upon his own heritage as the son of a political refugee.

The bill Cruz blocked, the Hong Kong People's Freedom and Choice Act of 2020, would grant political asylum to any resident of Hong Kong who arrives in the United States, allowing them to remain in the country legally after the expiration of any other visa. The United States already extends that special status to refugees from 10 other countries, and the bill would have merely added Hong Kong to the list.

In remarks delivered on the Senate floor Friday, Cruz outlined two objections to the bill. Both are misleading, at best.

First, Cruz politicized the attempt to provide an exit strategy for Hongkongers, calling the bill a Democratic plot to "advance their long-standing goals on changing immigration laws." But the bill has a bipartisan list of cosponsors and passed the House earlier this month by a voice vote—usually an indicator of such broad support that no roll call is demanded.

Second, Cruz maligned Hong Kong refugees as potential spies, arguing that China would use the special immigration status to slip its agents into the United States. Except, well, China doesn't seem to have any trouble doing that already, and recipients of political asylum would have to undergo a background check before their status is granted. If anything, the bill's passage would ensure that immigrants from Hong Kong to America are subject to more vetting than they might otherwise receive.

Again, Cruz's father's story stands in stark contrast. Prior to fleeing to America, Rafael Cruz had worked for the Castro government in Cuba. If Ted were a member of the U.S. Senate at the time, would he have viewed his own father as a potential spy who should not be trusted with political asylum?

"My family knows the oppression of communist governments," Cruz said on the Senate floor Friday, once again invoking his father's story. He said it was important to "speak up for dissidents who are being tortured and oppressed" in China.

But speaking up only gets you so far. Cruz should be judged for his actions, not his words.

Cruz's biography aside, there is a more important and obvious point. Granting political asylum to Hongkongers looking to flee China is absolutely the right thing for the United States to do, politically and economically.

Politically, the image of tens of thousands of Hongkongers fleeing China's takeover of the city by relocating to the United States would be an international humiliation for the regime in Beijing. That's why China has tried to stop the United Kingdom from extending special immigration status to residents of Hong Kong—and the U.K. has responded, correctly, by turning its passport-making machines up to 11.

Economically, China's loss would be America's gain. An influx of people from Hong Kong—and the knowledge, skills, money, and entrepreneurship they would bring—would be an economic boon for the United States, particularly if they resettle in areas where the population is stagnant or declining.

Instead of seizing that opportunity, America got the spectacle of a child of a political refugee slamming a door in the face of people seeking the same opportunity that his own father once received.

"When I was a kid, my father would say to me, over and over, 'When we face depression in Cuba, I had a place to flee to.' If we lose our freedom here, where do we go?" Cruz told The New York Times in 2015 while campaigning in New Hampshire.

Perhaps he should have listened more closely to what his father had to say.

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  1. The chicom loving Republican party.

    1. We need to show China who’s boss by demanding free trade! I’m sure that the industrial bases of Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania can out compete China with respect to quantity and quality of goods manufactured.

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      2. Manufacturing output in this country has never been higher. It’s manufacturing employment that’s down, and that’s due to automation. Not China.

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        2. That’s not even remotely true, White Knight.

          1. Yeah but he heard it once on a Cato podcast so it just HAS to be true! Now wear your mask, you right wing terrorist who is killing sarcasmic’s grandmother!

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      3. Non sequitur much? But sure the rust belt can compete once they get rid of their unions. Until they are ready to do that, don’t come crying to me that I need to do my part to support their lavish benefits.

        1. I’m sure cost of living issues, environmental requirements, and government subsidies have no effect on the de-industrialization of the Rust Belt states. Thankfully, the Biden administration will fix all those issues with a competent and aggressive administrative state.

          1. I agree he’ll suck, now back to my original point; what has the Republican party done to stop the chicoms beside trample on my right to have my representative vote on taxes being levied against me?

            1. The Republican party is ideologically dead. Nothing more than Zombie Reaganism at this point. Why else do you think a bloviating game show host was able to win the GOP nomination? No policies, just showmanship and bravado is the Trump platform. The traditional GOP only has three ideas remaining and only one of them is actually useful from a libertarian perspective: cut taxes (when does the Laffer curve invert?), cut regulations, and increase military spending.

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        2. Yep, unions are the only material difference between communist China and Pittsburgh.

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  3. If only we could solve all intra-ethnic struggles by inviting both parties to the United States so they could enjoy our freedoms supported by democratic institutions. Surly, our inherent rights enshrined in the Constitutions will not be re-interpreted by the Supreme Court or re-legislated by the Congress to minimize freedom….

    1. Surly, our inherent rights enshrined in the Constitutions will not be re-interpreted by the Supreme Court or re-legislated by the Congress to minimize freedom….

      Assuming they aren’t just flat out ignored.

      And don’t call me Surly.

      1. Just so long as we only let in those who themselves or both their parents were living in HK before 1997. After that, permission to emigrate to HK from the rest of China was a reward for Party loyalty.
        Don’t really want to grant Chinese Communist party loyalists immigrant status.

        1. Don’t really want to grant Chinese Communist party loyalists immigrant status.

          Reason does.

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  4. SleepyJoe will use his massive intellect and unlimited energy to solve this problem.

    1. Legislation and executive actions are not important. What is important is that we return to democratic norms in the United States. Together with liberal platitudes, we can heal this nation and build back better.

      1. Who’s this [WE] you speak of? And the USA isn’t a democracy.

  5. The Koch / Reason solution to any conflict anywhere on the planet is to invite the entire population of the affected region to immigrate to the United States. Not only is this the humanitarian thing to do, it also provides the largest possible labor force for Reason.com’s benefactor Charles Koch. And he needs it too. Mr. Koch’s net worth is currently barely above $56,000,000,000 — putting him in danger of falling out of the global top 20. Unacceptable!

    Fortunately the alt-right white nationalist GOP suffered a historic landslide defeat last month. In January President Biden will take office and #OpenTheBorders just as his Wall Street, billionaire, and Reason employee supporters demand.


    1. Watching corporate Democrats knee cap AOC and the Progressive Squad is going to be hilarious in the coming year. All those proposed benefits and programs are going to evaporate like the mirage they are once the Obama alumni retake their positions in the Washington bureaucracy.

      1. This. Not that most commenters here will give a shit. The 2020 election is clearly the Bolsheviks taking power and nothing will ever change that narrative.

        But it will be interesting to see how big money and the PTB’s and poobahs will reclaim both the D party and, likely, the R establishment again in the next year. While the propaganda/narrative will pretend to be all about big incompatible principles on both sides

        1. >Bolshevik
          More like corporate, neo-liberals retaking the reigns of power in DC. Add in a dash of anti-white bigotry to keep the proles at each other’s throats while they rake in the cash with government handouts and “corrective” regulations.

          1. We’d be better off in the long run if it really was the Bolsheviks… They tend to peter out after 80 short years.

  6. Why is Hong Kong our problem? The easiest answer to helping them while making the world healthier, freer, and safer is for the US to blow up the three gorges dam.

    1. America is a beacon to all the nations of the world beckoning the arrival of the tired, weak, and poor. It says so on the statue of Liberty, which practically makes those words a Constitutional amendment.

    2. Also, about 90% of them want to emigrate to the UK anyway.

  7. Seriously Boehm fuck off.

  8. Cruz never disappoints. /sarc

  9. Boehm’s objections to Cruz’s rationales are weak.

    I have little doubt that the Democrats are indeed littering the proposal with other ways of weakening America. They do it all the time. And that China already has spies in America is a poor rationale for making it easier for them to send more. What next? “Guns are already restricted so why not let congress restrict them more”?

    And no, comparing Hong Kong escapees to Cruz’s father is not the same, because the threat of “Cuban spies” never remotely compared to the threat of Chinese spies.

  10. “Cruz not only dimmed America’s status as a bastion of freedom for the world’s oppressed people, but spat upon his own heritage as the son of a political refugee.”

    Is Cruz reflecting the opinions of his constituents?

    Because that’s at least part of his job in a democracy.

    And, yes, setting the rules of naturalization is well within the proper purview of democracy. Oh, and your job as a journalist is supposed to be about persuading Cruz’s constituents (and other voters) that they should want more immigration from Hong Kong.

    Disparaging Cruz and others for not living up to your expectations because of their heritage, however, isn’t persuasive. It’s almost as bad as attacking a politician for reflecting the views of his constituents on an issue that’s well within the proper purview of democracy.

    1. Liberty is more important than democracy unless we are talking about democratic initiatives in California or New York. Be sure to subscribe to Reason Magazine!

      1. Within democracy’s proper purview, respect for democracy and liberty are the same thing.

        It isn’t possible for our society to be free if the government can inflict wars, taxes, naturalization policies, and treaties over the objections of our representatives and against our will. That is why setting naturalization policy is within the proper purview of democracy.

        No, if the people don’t want a war, it doesn’t matter whether we think fighting it anyway over their objections is in the interests of liberty. No, if the people don’t want a tax, your opinion on whether it’s necessary to tax us shouldn’t matter–no matter how rational your argument is. No, if the American people don’t want to be subject to a treaty, your rational argument shouldn’t overrule democracy–and the same thing goes for naturalization policy.

        Just because an open border policy with Hong Kong would be in the best interests of the United States doesn’t mean anyone should inflict such a policy on the American people over their objections and against their will.

        The First Amendment begins, “Congress shall make no law” because our First Amendment rights have no business being subjected to a popularity contest in free society. Naturalization policy isn’t like that, and anyone who argues against respecting democracy in its proper purview isn’t advocating liberty. They’re advocating authoritarianism–regardless of whether you realize it.

        If you want something within in the proper purview of democracy that the American people don’t want, then you need to use persuasion. There are actually professional people whose job is supposed to be to persuade people–they’re called “journalists”. Libertarian ones are supposed to use facts and logic–rather than this pathetic display of elitism. Yes, advocating that an elite few inflict their will on the American people over their objections and against their will is the very stuff that elitism is made of.

  11. When Cruz’s father came to the US this country still enforced it’s immigration laws. Once we restore enforcement of the law, deport the civilian invaders and who have violated it, and punished their collaborators, then we can change the law. Until then, an unfortunate No to the Hong Kongers.

    The author, like Senator Cruz, is a son of a refugee from bolshevism. Enforce The Law.

  12. I wouldn’t be surprised if this legislation was written by CCP lobbyists.

    China would love if the United States gave easy visas to all their liberty-loving activists and took care of the problem for them.

  13. Popcorn is served. Having fun sitting back and watch the xenophobia in full blossom.

    1. >xenophobia
      Don’t throw stones. I’m assuming your handle is named after Thomas Jefferson, the man who raped his slaves.

      1. George Jefferson is also dead.

    2. So you’re reading some other website and commenting about it here?

      1. Have you never posted to the wrong story?

    3. Well, what to say. I figured I would try my hand at “trolling.” I guess I am not very good at it. On the other hand, I find myself pleasantly surprised.

      1. All you ever do is troll, Jeff. And you’re not fooling anyone.

  14. Is there no one who fact checks the article?

    According to wiki, Cruz’ father left Cuba in 1957. Now it is possible that he left Cuba because he supported the revolution and Castro – but in 1957, Batista was running Cuba – not Castro. This is not some typographical error.

    The real history of the cuban revolution is worth trying to understand. Both for its own sake and for understanding current Hong Kong protests. Why is that everyone simply wants to use history as a cudgel to lie and further their own narrative?

    1. Serious question. How does that change the narrative?

      1. JFree is a conspiracy theorist absolute fucking nutcase who thinks the communists were the good guys in Latin America bravely fighting against the yanqui CIA.

        1. Have you been sniffing glue? And who the fuck are you?

  15. We knew Cruz has no heart, guts, spine, or balls. Now we know he has no brain either.

    1. >he has no brain either.
      Well, he is an Ivy League graduate.

  16. “spat upon his own heritage as the son of a political refugee.”

    I don’t succumb to emotional blackmail.

  17. >>China doesn’t seem to have any trouble doing that already

    making it even easier seems counterintuitive … to the intuitive anyway I don’t know about you anymore

  18. Hey Shika, did Boehm leave his computer on again?

  19. My guess is that Cruz wants to block refugee status for Hong Kongers because he doesn’t want it revealed what an embarrassing small number of refugees from Hong Kong want to come here. Why would you want to flee one ChiCom-run hell-hole just to come to another?

  20. In one case we saw it in our political interest to welcome Cuban refugees. In another case we don’t see the same interest.

    Let them go to the UK?

  21. This is lazy reporting and I expect better of Reason Magazine. The context to this bill is EO 13936 on Hong Kong Normalization from last July that means U.S. law sees Hong Kong and China as one and the same. That puts Hong Kong into the same quota bucket for visas as China. This means fewer visas available for work or immigration for those in Hong Kong. But if you grant them TPS, given that it is invariably a temporary status that never seems to end, then that is de facto allowing immigration and solves the fewer visa problem neatly AND undermines the president’s EO.

    Concerns of visa/program misuse are legitimate. Anytime you open up an immigration benefit, you create new pools of fraud. Concerns re: China are legitimate, too, witness the steady drip of U.S. official personnel that invariably turn out to be in the employ of PRC.

    The bill itself is unnecessary in terms of rescuing someone from persecution. Currently, Hong Kong residents who are at risk of persecution can apply for refugee status.

    And all of this means that not supporting this bill equals anti-immigration is a false equivalency. You’re supposed to be a thinking magazine, what’s with a reactionary forgetting to be a reporter and just dig behind the surface ever so slightly.

  22. What kind of a U.N. exists that allows China to conquer Hong Kong? Oh yeah; I forgot – the U.N. is now a global Hitler Camp instead of a Individual Freedom camp.

  23. Maybe Ted has a son who needs a job, like Hunter.

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  25. “More than most members of Congress, Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) understands the desperation of individuals fleeing autocratic communist regimes.”

    I’ve spotted your fatal flaw. It’s in this part of the quote; “Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) understands”.

  26. Looks like Reason has finally found the one and only time the Chinese Communist Party is the bad guy: when it might result in fewer Chinese Communist Party spies being admitted to the US unfettered.

  27. With 80% of the country furloughed and placed on mandatory house arrest there is no better time to welcome CCP loyalists to experience the true freedom, justice, and liberty of the United States.

  28. If you really want to free Hong Kong, free China. Meanwhile, in America, we see maybe everyone becoming imprisoned in front of screen-bearing devices, developing pretend followers and collecting any number of pro-social thumbs-ups. But it makes little difference — if people are not producers — of labor, of consumables, of service.

    In Hong Kong as with China, perhaps producers have more freedom? A pity that political action appears so obligatory — but similar consequences can certainly be felt in the states today.

  29. Back when the British gave up control, there was a mass exodus from Hong Kong and a huge number ended up in Vancouver, so much so, that it was called “Hongcouver” The city got an award for about 7 years in a row for the highest quality of life. When you accept people who are freedom loving and enterprising, it doesn’t hurt

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