Rand Paul to back path to citizenship for illegal aliens
I wonder what this will do to his standing among some conservatives? For the most part, his libertarian base won't let it deter their support of him, but conservatives might be a little miffed.
Conservatives may want to pay close attention to Paul's ideas about a path to citizenship because it appears what he is proposing is a long and torturous process for the illegals.
Paul's path to citizenship would come with conditions that could make it long and difficult for illegal immigrants. Chief among these, Congress would have to agree first that progress was being made on border security.
Nonetheless, Paul's endorsement of allowing illegal immigrants an eventual way to become citizens puts him in line with a growing number of Republicans who are embracing action on immigration as a way to broaden the GOP's appeal to Latinos. On Monday, a Republican National Committee report called on the GOP to support comprehensive reform, though without specifying whether it should include a pathway to citizenship, which is decried by some conservatives as amnesty.
Paul's move also comes as a bipartisan group of senators is nearing agreement on sweeping legislation to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, an effort that could get a boost from Paul's stance. In an interview, Paul said he could foresee backing the Senate group's emerging bill, although he plans to try to amend it on the floor with some of his own ideas.
Paul's speech is peppered with Spanish phrases from his youth in Texas, references to his immigrant grandparents and praise for Latino culture. He says his party must adopt a new face toward Hispanics and says conservatives must be part of it.
"Immigration reform will not occur until conservative Republicans, like myself, become part of the solution. I am here today to begin that conversation," Paul says.
"Let's start that conversation by acknowledging we aren't going to deport" the millions already here, he says.
This is a far more pragmatic Rand Paul than we are used to. Eleven million illegals are here. Unless we want to spend tens of billions to deport them, something must be done to bring them out of the shadows and make them prodictive, tax paying residents.
Is Paul pandering? No doubt to some extent he is. But he, and other Republicans, are coming to the realization that demanding better border security is only one part of the immigration fix. Doing something about those already here must be part of any immigration deal. How that plays out is still up for grabs, but it starts with an acknowledgement of the problem.
How many conservatives are going to "Stand with Rand" on immigration reform?