Santorum Slams Cruz on Visas, Immigration | NBC Bay Area
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Santorum Slams Cruz on Visas, Immigration

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    Rick Santorum called out Ted Cruz this week for his stance on immigration, particularly H-1B visas. Are Santorum's claims accurate? Sam Brock investigates. (Published Friday, Aug. 21, 2015)

    Things are heating up in the Republican primary, and the gloves are coming off when it comes to immigration.

    Rick Santorum took a jab within his own party on Thursday, calling out Ted Cruz in a speech at the National Press Club.

    Santorum told the crowd that as president he would prioritize giving jobs to Americans, not foreign workers.

    "Again, this is in stark contrast with other Republicans, particularly Ted Cruz, who seeks to increase H1-B's five-fold," he said.

    Where does Cruz line up on the visa issue?

    Santorum is right.

    The 2013 Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act was an immigration reform effort that included a plan to increase the federal cap for H-1B visas from 65,000 to 180,000.

    That same year Cruz filed an amendment to the bill, which would further increase the cap to 325,000, or five times the base federal level.

    But the immigration bill was a bipartisan effort, so Cruz wasn’t crossing party lines. In fact, the bill was sponsored by the so-called “Gang of Eight” which included current GOP presidential candidates Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

    Those two names were noticeably absent from Santorum's speech on Thursday.

    An increase in the cap for H-1B visas could have a significant impact in Silicon Valley, where many companies rely on the visas to hire skilled foreign workers.

    Applications for H-1B visas have increased significantly in the past several years. There were 124,000 applications for fiscal year 2014. That number nearly doubled for fiscal year 2016.