02/22/2016 11:08 pm ET
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has taken a page from Donald Trump's presidential campaign playbook, hardening his rhetoric against undocumented immigrants.
Cruz told Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Monday that yes, should he be elected president, his administration would deport all 12 million undocumented peopleestimated to be in the U.S. and wouldn't allow them to return.
"We should enforce the law ... federal law requires that anyone here illegally that's apprehended should be deported," Cruz said. "Of course" he'd look for undocumented immigrants, he said.
Cruz said America would build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, triple the border force and establish biometric entry systems "so we will know the day someone overstays their visa."
The senator's comments represent an escalation in rhetoric from a candidate who rejected the notion of a "deportation force" of "jackboots" just last month, and lambasted the idea after it was proposed by GOP front-runner Trump. Cruz in January said such a policy would reflect "a police state," adding, "That's not how we enforce the law for any crime."
Cruz was pressed on the issue Monday by O'Reilly, who asked if he would seek out fictitious Irishman Tommy O'Malley and deport him for overstaying his visa.
"You better believe it," Cruz said. "Both Donald Trump and Marco Rubio would allow those 12 million people to become U.S. citizens. I will not."