Texas Senator Ted Cruz is back in Iowa this weekend, praising conservative Republicans in the U.S. House like Congressman Steve King who held out until GOP leaders in the House toughened immigration legislation.

“The House of Representatives stood up and led,” Cruz said this afternoon during an interview with Radio Iowa. “Last night they passed major legislation to provide meaningful relief for the humanitarian crisis that is playing out at our border and I’m sorry to say that Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats refused to do the same.”

Cruz conferred with King and other House conservatives over the past two weeks, plotting strategy for changes in the House bill that provides money to deal with the unaccompanied children crossing into the U.S. along the southern border. Cruz said fixing the “underlying crisis” requires ending the incentive for children to enter the country illegally

“It’s important to understand that these kids are not being brought in not by well-meaning social workers with beards and Birkenstocks. They are being brought in by hardened, violent, transnational drug cartels. These coyotes are vicious and these little girls and little boys are being physically assaulted. They’re being sexually assaulted,” Cruz said. “These only way to solve this humanitarian crisis is to stop President Obama’s amnesty.”

Cruz said that means passing a bill to make it “absolutely clear” President Obama does not have the authority to grant amnesty to any illegal immigrant, including teenagers and young adults brought into the country by their parents when they were children. Two years ago the Obama Administration announced those young adults, called “DREAMers” by some, were being given a “deferred” status so they will not be deported.

Cruz is in Iowa today to attend a late afternoon fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party’s candidate for the U.S. Senate.

“There is no senate candidate I am more excited about across the country than Joni Ernst,” Cruz said.

Cruz classified Ernst as a candidate who will resist becoming “captive” to the “party bosses” in Washington D.C.

“The greatest divide we have in this country is not between Republicans and Democrats,” Cruz said. “The greatest divide, unfortunately, is between entrenched politicians in both parties and the American people.”

Cruz and Florida Senator Marco Rubio are both attending the Ernst fundraiser today. The event is hosted by agribusiness entrepreneur Bruce Rastetter, the top contribution to Governor Branstad’s 2010 campaign. The two U.S. Senators are also guests at a Rastetter party this evening for over a thousand invited guests. In previous years, Rastetter’s annual party has featured potential presidential candidates, too. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have attended in recent years.

Scott Brennan, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, issued a written statement this afternoon, saying that if Ernst joins Cruz and Rubio in the U.S. Senate next year, they’ll pursue a “Tea Party” agenda that will “mean more obstruction, more division and harm to middle class families.”

Bruce Braley, the Iowa Democratic Party’s candidate for the U.S. Senate, is scheduled to campaign in central Iowa on Sunday with Senator Tom Harkin, the Democrat who announced a year and a half ago that he would not seek reelection in 2014.