Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has lost ground to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in the Republican presidential primary, criticized his colleague today for introducing an amendment to the 2013 immigration bill that would have barred citizenship for anyone who entered the country illegally — something Cruz described as a way to call the bluff of reformers.

“Without question, Rubio and Cruz have been for amnesty,” Paul told The Washington Post in a call with reporters today. “It’s kind of a silly debate. The amendment Cruz put forward was not intended to be a poison pill. It was for legalization.”

Paul’s comments were seized on by the campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), which views this battle in the policy weeds as a way to tarnish Cruz as a political cynic. Paul, like Cruz, spent the early part of 2013 describing how a sensible immigration reform might work, then voting against the “gang of eight” bill and every amendment backed by its adherents. Today, with months of campaigning behind them, Paul described Cruz’s history of that period as self-serving.

“I think Cruz is being disingenuous and not honestly describing what he did,” Paul said. “He’s wanting to have it both ways. I don’t think there’s any contemporary evidence he was putting forward something he didn’t believe in. It makes you wonder whether or not we can take him at face value on other issues.”

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