Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has railed against immigration reform all year, becoming one of the most vocal opponents of the legislation that passed the Senate in June. In arguing against the bill, Cruz charges regularly that proponents of reform are merely playing politics. “It is designed for it to sail through the Senate and then crash in the House to let the president go and campaign in 2014 on this issue,” he said.

In an interview that aired earlier this month, Cruz admitted that he is the one using the livelihood of millions of undocumented immigrants for partisan gain.

Speaking with Houston-based radio host Michael Berry, Cruz said he hopes that Speaker John Boehner will not take on immigration reform next year. Doing so, Cruz argued, would diminish the “incredible opportunity to retake the Senate in 2014.” Cruz emphasized that he is focused on winning the Senate majority from Democrats, and said passing immigration reform legislation would be the “number one thing Republicans could do to mess that up.”

Cruz also said comprehensive immigration would amount to “kicking millions of Americans in the teeth.” During the chat, the freshman senator did not offer any concrete policy solutions, noting only that those seeking to pass legislation “refuse to stand for principle.” The Senate version of the bill includes a pathway to citizenship of over 13 years, with many barriers and fines, along with over $50 billion of increased border security.

Transcript below:

MICHAEL BERRY: Amnesty, illegal immigration, an immigration reform plan. We’re hearing that Boehner has punted that until after the Republican primary to save the squish Republicans from Tea Party challenges. True?

TED CRUZ: You know, I don’t know. I certainly hope the reports that you and I are both reading are not true. You know I think we’ve got an incredible opportunity to retake the Senate in 2014, to retire Harry Reid as Majority Leader. And the number one thing Republicans could do to mess that up is to refuse to stand for principle. And if the House turns around and passes a giant amnesty deal that doesn’t secure the border and grants amnesty, they might as well go and put “Harry Reid for Majority Leader” bumper stickers on the backs of their cars because it would be kicking conservatives, kicking the Tea Party, kicking millions of Americans in the teeth to make that same mistake again, so I sure hope they don’t do it.

BERRY: I think you’re right.

This post first appeared at The Nation and is reposted here with permission.

Lee Fang is a reporting fellow with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, now known as Type Investigations, now known as Type Investigations.