As the Republican presidential primary heats up, illegal immigration is again taking center stage.  While this is nothing new (as we know President Reagan attempted to address it in the ’80s, John McCain made it a priority in ’08, and on), the discussion has taken an interesting turn this election cycle.

At issue, of course, are Obama’s executive amnesty, the recent influx of illegal immigrants (including huge numbers of children), the vast number of illegals currently living and working in the U.S., border security (such as it is), and a host of related issues including the burden of illegal immigration on tax payers in terms of jobs, health care, schooling, police and judicial involvement, and various entitlement costs.

Marco Rubio’s involvement with the Gang of Eight, particularly his decision to work closely with Chuck Schumer, has not gone unnoticed by either the conservative base nor by the other presidential hopefuls.

Donald Trump states that Rubio’s support for amnesty is “because he’s Hispanic.”

Watch:

This seems to be an off-the-cuff remark and not his campaign’s message; he also does not reject the idea of Rubio as his VP running mate should he win the GOP nomination.

Another presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, stated that he literally laughed out loud at Rubio’s claim that his position on illegal immigration is the same as Cruz’s.

Politico reports:

[Cruz] told reporters after, “In the “Gang of Eight” fight Marco chose to stand with Chuck Schumer and to lead the fight tooth and nail for a massive amnesty plan. I chose to stand with [Alabama Sen.] Jeff Sessions and to lead the fight to defeat amnesty.”

Cruz’s broadside was the latest in an escalating feud between the two senators that blew up in the wake of Tuesday’s fourth GOP debate, during which both had strong performances. Rubio over the past couple of days has tried to equate Cruz’s record on immigration which his own more relatively conciliatory one, while Cruz has pushed back hard on those efforts.

“I have to admit that I laughed out loud at that,” Cruz said earlier Friday on Mike Gallagher’s radio show, in response to Rubio’s assertion on Thursday that they held similar views on immigration reform. He went on to add, “that statement was truly stunning. That’s like Obama saying my position is the same as his on Obamacare. That’s like Ayatollah Khamenei saying my position is the same as his on the Iranian nuclear deal.”

Cruz, you may recall, led the fight against the Rubio-Schumer Gang of Eight amnesty bill.  Watch:

And the bill was stopped in its tracks.

[Featured image via Breitbart]