Ted Cruz
Senator Ted Cruz was the first official candidate in the 2016 presidential race.Commons/Gage Skidmore

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz spoke at a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce forum series in Washington DC about the economy and immigration on 29 April.

The session was held on the same day Cruz's potential rival Jeb Bush advocated a plan to provide legal status to undocumented immigrants in the US.

The Texas senator, who faces stiff competition from Bush and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, said that Mitt Romney's comments about the American working class, not immigration reform, cost him the support of Hispanics in 2012.

"The media repeatedly said the reason Mitt Romney got clobbered in the Hispanic community was because of immigration," Cruz said, according to Bloomberg Politics. "The data don't bear that out," he continued. "The Obama economy has been a disaster for the Hispanic community."

According to Bloomberg, Cruz was questioned by Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Javier Palomarez on whether he was abandoning Latino voters for political reasons. Cruz missed the chamber's annual legislative summit in March.

"I hope it is not indicative that he's backing away from the Hispanic community in order to get through the primary," Palomarez told Fox News Latino.

Palomarez also took Cruz to task for carrying different campaign messages regarding his opposition to Obamacare and the president's executive orders on immigration in his English and Spanish-language adverts. Cruz only responded, "My messaging is going to be consistent throughout."

Cruz faces a difficult road against Bush and Rubio in getting support of Latino voters. The son of Cuban immigrant is a vocal opponent of President Obama's executive orders easing deportations of undocumented immigrants and has touted his support of legal immigration.

On his website, Cruz argues, "President Obama's policies have encouraged drug smugglers, child abusers, murders, and other dangerous criminals to traffic immigrant children to our nation under life-threatening conditions."

Bush and Rubio, on the other hand, enjoy larger Hispanic support and have more immigration reform-friendly views.