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Dissenters in the audience challenge Sen. Ted Cruz while he gives his speech at the Value Voters Summit.

Immigrant activists confront Ted Cruz; he calls them “paid political operatives”

Texas Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz, one of the architects of the shutdown, delivered a defiant and impassioned message to social conservatives at Friday’s Values Voters Summit in Washington – but  was interrupted loudly and repeatedly by immigrant activists, who questioned him on immigration and asked why he was separating families if he believes in ‘family values.”

Cruz responded by calling the activists “paid political operatives.”

“I’m amazed how all of the President’s staff is out here today rather than organizing the country,” said Cruz, saying he was “curious” if anybody is left at the Organizing for America headquarters.

In a statement, Kica Matos, director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice at the Center for Community Change said the Texas senator had “no sympathy.”

“Cruz could use his influence with the conservative members of his party to embrace a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but instead he chooses to place the blame for his own severely flawed leadership on the President,” Matos said. “Instead of answering the questions from activists, he chose to ignore them and show that the conservative wing of his party has absolutely no desire to embrace immigration reform.”

A new NBC/WSJ poll found very few Americans have a favorable view of the Texas Tea Party Senator.

Only 14 percent of voters polled have a favorable view of Cruz and 28 percent view him negatively.

But for Cruz, it was full steam ahead.

“We have a couple of years to turn this country around or else we go off the cliff to oblivion,” he told conservatives at the conference.

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