Editor’s Note: The Interview took place via Zoom on 2/16/22.
Garrit: Can you introduce yourself?
Monica: Sure. My name is Monica De La Cruz. I’m a mother of two and a small business owner. Before the 2020 election, I have not held any political position or anyone in my family. My grandparents immigrated over here, and my grandfather served honorably in the US Navy during World War Two. My brother served honorably for 20 years in the United States Air Force. I decided to run because I saw the vilification of our border patrol agents in this area, and this area is very pro-law enforcement and pro Border Patrol. So, I decided to stand up and get involved in our political system. I ran in this district in 2020, and it was a very heavily Democrat district (it was a D+ 21 district). We ran with very little money but with hundreds of volunteers, and we swung the district 18 points. Although we fell short, I’m very proud to say that we were the most competitive congressional race in the entire state of Texas. We were the third most competitive race in the nation. So, here we are. It’s exciting that we’re running an exciting race. Our district is now an R+3 district with redistricting, which means we’re very competitive and more favorably Republican. So, this is an exciting time for our team and our volunteers.
Julian: So, I’m from the valley and grew up there. My mom and grandmother came up from Mexico when my mom was pretty young. I’ve seen the impacts of illegal immigration firsthand, and I see how bad it is today. What are some of your solutions and ideas to help combat this mass illegal immigration that we’re seeing in 2022?
Monica: Well, I like to divide immigration into two areas. There’s the illegal immigration issue and the national security issue. So, they’re two different issues. On the national security issue, number one, we need to deploy more boots to be in the field for Border Patrol agents. We need to put these boots in the field, not in administration positions. We need to hire more Border Patrol agents and ensure they’re in the field and not in administration positions. We need to end the “catch and release” program because that’s truly incentivizing people from all over the world to enter our country illegally. It gives the perception that our borders are open. We need to have the “Remain in Mexico” policy, but with the same parameters as in the Trump administration–with no limits on who can be enrolled in the MPP program. So, we need to do that and continue the Title 42 program. So, those are some things that I think will help curb illegal immigration.
Julian: So, you mentioned the district being D+ 21. Being from the valley, I’ve always kind of known that Hispanics, significantly down there, are very socially conservative. But what do you think got them voting Republican in 2020?
Monica: You know, I think that what got them moving was that whether you liked Trump or didn’t, he was a colorful person; he made you listen. People started to be woken up by President Trump to listen and pay attention to what was going on. Number one, President Trump had a considerable influence on that awakening. Number two, the Democrat Party that we grew up with, and possibly even you grew up with, no longer exists. There’s no such thing as a conservative Democrat anymore. So, Hispanics along the border, who are conservative, have been awakened to see that their values just no longer align with the Democrat Party. It’s not because Hispanic values have changed, but because the Democrat values have changed.
Garrit: Continuing with the theme of conservative values. If you are elected to the US House, would you join, if you’re given an opportunity, the House Freedom Caucus?
Monica: You know, that’s a great question. I have to take one step at a time and first win the race before I can start entertaining what caucuses will best fit our district. So, my first hurdle is to pass a highly contested primary. We’ve got eight people in the race. So, I’m focused right now on passing the primary and then winning in the general election before we start talking about caucuses.
Garrit: Yeah, absolutely. If you win the primary and win the general election, how are you going to go to DC, take on the establishment, and hold your district’s values as your top priority?
Monica: The first thing that I’m going to do when I get to DC is vote the liberal socialist Nancy Pelosi out of her position. That’s the first thing that I’m going to do. The second thing I’m going to do is I’m going to be a voice for Border Patrol agents. We have Democrats all along the border representing Texas–not including our Republican Congressman Tony Gonzalez (who’s been a fabulous voice for Border Patrol). I will stand with Congressman Tony Gonzalez and further push for Border Patrol agents. I find, which is very sad, that Border Patrol is the number one issue in our district, but the further you go up north, that message gets lost. Why? Because there’s not enough representation for Border Patrol agents in this area.
Garrit: Continuing with the issue of the Speaker. If you are elected, do you plan on supporting Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the US House?
Monica: Again, I think that the first issue is first to pass the primary and also help fellow candidates like Esther King Joy and Amanda Adkins to get in the position to take back the House. So, we don’t want to put the cart before the horse. Still, we want to get people elected to elect Kevin McCarthy and bring people in Republican leadership positions to voice conservative legislation.
Julian: I know you mentioned the primary. We’re just a few days into early voting. What’s the voter turnout looking like so far?
Monica: Yeah, voter turnout has been incredible. I was looking at some numbers that came out here in the McAllen Monitor, the local newspaper, and early voting on Monday versus early voting in 2018–an off presidential cycle–and the Republican vote had doubled. So, this is a clear indication of the excitement within our district and, more importantly, within the Hispanic vote. Which, down here in Hidalgo, is 90% of the population.
Julian: Yeah, you know, Hispanic Democrats support these social welfare programs. But how can you reform that and get away from the socialist-type policies that we’re seeing from DC and Democrats today? I mean, what’s the solution for the district and the country?
Monica: Well, I keep going back to the same thing, and that is to elect a leader, to have a caucus, and to see how we’re going to face these issues. We have got to get conservative candidates to win in the 2022 election. So, the first and most important thing is that we get conservative candidates like myself, like Esther King Joy and Amanda Adkins, elected. So we can be the majority in the House, elect our leader, and then choose the caucus that best fits our district. Then we can start to stop this socialist program that Nancy Pelosi is leading. So, again, we’ve got to get elected first, we’ve got to take back the House, and then we can stop this socialist agenda through our voting.
Garrit: Whenever we talk about elections, a common issue that’s brought up is election integrity and election security. Do you reiterate the position of some Republicans that the 2020 election was stolen?
Monica: Look, I think that Americans were frustrated by the election system. I’m proud to be in the state of Texas, where our governor took election integrity seriously and led the way for our elections to be held accountable. So, I believe that people want to know that their vote and their voice were heard and will be heard in the future.
Garrit: Do you take issue with the fact that the penalty for voter fraud was lowered from a felony to a misdemeanor?
Monica: I would have to look at that a little more closely to comment on it.
Garrit: Okay. Of course, we just talked about election integrity, and January 6th took place because of the election. Do you think that January 6th was an insurrection?
Monica: Well, first and foremost, I will say that January 6th was a sad day. Horrific events happened, and we pray for everyone that was impacted. Anyone who committed a crime on that day should be held accountable through the legal system. It goes back to election integrity and people feeling that their vote was counted. This is why it’s important that other states take the lead of Texas, look at their election system, and implement a program where people will feel like their vote is counted.
Garrit: Do you have any thoughts on the January 6th Commission?
Monica: What’s going on in Washington, as far as January 6th is concerned, is political theater. That’s exactly what people hate about DC. They want an outsider to go in and change that. I think that’s why I have been so popular in this district because I am an outsider. I’m a businesswoman. I am a mother. I’m someone who loves this country and loves this district. They want someone to go over there that’s not going to play this political theater, stand up for our law enforcement and border patrol agents, and do what they said they’re going to do.
Garrit: Absolutely! So, we talked about election integrity and January 6th; another issue that could probably spawn off of that is big tech censorship. There have been some people running for office who have suggested some reform. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Monica: I believe in freedom of speech and that people should have an outlet to have their voices heard. With that being said, I do not think that those voices should be censored. I do not believe that the government should be censoring or playing a part in the censorship of these voices. One of the things that I want to fight is government overreach. I think when we talk about big tech and censorship, that’s what we’re talking about is the overreach of the government. We need to ensure that people’s voices and conservative voices are not censored.
Julian: I know you’ve talked a lot about getting good conservative candidates in the office. Something that I know most Hispanics agree on, and that I am a big proponent of, is pro-life. What is your end goal for abortion laws in the US in a post-Roe America?
Monica: I ran on the pro-life movement. I’m a pro-life candidate, and I’m unapologetic about it. This area in District 15 has a solid Catholic base. We have a Basilica in this district, as you know, in San Juan. So, this is a solid pro-life district. In fact, in the 2020 election, Edinburg became a sanctuary for the unborn. So, I’m unapologetic about my beliefs. I’m unapologetic about supporting the pro-life movement. I believe that our district stands for the pro-life movement. Thank you so much for your time, and thank you for the interview. I appreciate this and look forward to speaking to you guys again.