Rand Paul on Immigration



To defend against terrorism, we need to defend the border

PAUL: The one thing that might have stopped San Bernardino--that might have stopped 9/11--would have been stricter controls on those who came here. And Marco Rubio has opposed at every point increased border security for those who come to our country. On his Gang of Eight bill, he would have liberalized immigration, but he steadfastly opposed any new border security requirements for refugees or students. Last week, I introduced another bill saying we need more security, we need more scrutiny. Once again, Marco opposed this.

RUBIO: What he's pointing to is an amendment that only 10 people voted for. You know why? Because it's not focused on terrorists. It would have banned anyone from coming here. Someone from Taiwan would not have been able to come here as a tourist.

PAUL: What I put forward was an amendment that would have temporarily halted immigration from high-risk terrorist countries. I wanted them to go through Global Entry, which is a program where we do background checks.

Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican two-tier debate , Dec 15, 2015

We need a Supreme Court case on birthright citizenship

Q [to Trump]: Where do you stand on the issue of birthright citizenship?

TRUMP: I believe that a reading of the 14th Amendment allows you to have an interpretation where this is not legal and where it can't be done. I've seen both sides, but some of the greatest scholars agree with me, without having to go through Congress. If you do go through Congress, you can absolutely solve the problem.

PAUL: Donald Trump has a bit of a point here. The case that was decided around 1900 was, people had a green card, were here legally, and they said that their children were citizens. There's never been a direct Supreme Court case on people who were here illegally, whether or not their kids are citizens. So it hasn't really been completely adjudicated. The 14th Amendment says that "those who are here and under the jurisdiction." The original author of the 14th Amendment said on the Senate floor that this was applying to slaves, and did not specifically apply to others.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Secure border with Mexico; do away with sanctuary cities

When I think of immigration, I think that you do have to have a secure border, but I don't automatically think that immigrants are bad people. I think the opposite. I think of my great-grandfather, who came here from Germany, and I think that most immigrants come here seeking the American dream. And I'm not going to vilify all immigrants with a broad brush. I think there are some bad people--and I put in legislation on the sanctuary cities to try to make sure that never happens again, but I think by and large, the people who come to our country want the American dream.
Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jul 26, 2015

Legal status for 11 million illegals after we secure border

Q: You have said that the 11 million immigrants in this country already here should have some legal status and pay taxes. You want to find some sort of legal status for them?

PAUL: What I want to do first is secure the border. If we secure the border and we can say who is coming, who is going, and only people come, come legally, the 11 million that are here, I think there could be a work status for them. And I think what I have tried to say is, what we want is more legal immigration, so we have less illegal immigration. But I am open to immigration reform. I voted against the bill that came forward, though, primarily because it limited the number of legal work visas.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 coverage:2016 presidential hopefuls , Apr 12, 2015

Protect AGAINST feds creating a national ID card

I introduced legislation that would make immigration reform conditional on Congress voting on whether the border is secure, and protection against the federal government establishing a national identification card system for citizens. My "Trust but Verify" amendment requires Congress to enforce a border security blueprint rather than relying on bureaucracies, such as the Department of Homeland Security. The amendment also would provide new national security safeguards to track the student visas and those provided asylum and refugee status.
Source: 2016 presidential campaign website, RandPaul.com, "Issues" , Apr 7, 2015

Replace pathway to citizenship with work visas

Paul says he supports "probation" followed by "assimilation"--in other words, putting undocumented immigrants on an eventual track to either permanent legal status (a green card) or full citizenship. Paul's plan would get immigrants a temporary visa but would not put them ahead of anyone already waiting to enter the country. These undocumented persons would now be documented but they would still have to wait--their path to permanent legal status would be no faster than those currently waiting in line.
Source: National Journal 2016 series: Republicans on immigration , Feb 23, 2015

Status quo is untenable; we must do some sort of reform

Q: On the issue of immigration--is a path to citizenship something that the Republican Party needs to rethink its opposition to?

PAUL: I think that everyone needs to be for some form of immigration reform because the status quo is untenable. I think that if we do nothing, 11 million more people may be coming illegally, so we have to do something. But here's the conundrum, I think the conundrum that is really being pointed out by the children being dumped on the border right now--there's a humanitarian disaster of 50,000 kids being dumped on this side of our border. It's because you have a beacon, forgiveness, and you don't have a secure border. I am for immigration reform, but I insist that you secure the border first because if you have a beacon, of some kind of forgiveness, without a secure border, the whole world will come.

Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 22, 2014

Move beyond amnesty, but eventually to path to citizenship

Q: Does a "pathway to citizenship" mean amnesty in your book?

PAUL: I think that that's the whole point: What is amnesty? Because, [for those who say] "no deportation and no amnesty," well, if you're not going to deport people you are somehow changing the current law because the current law says everybody must go.

Q: But you've said that the party should give up this word "amnesty"?

PAUL: I think we need to get beyond it. We need some form of immigration reform.

Q: And a path to citizenship?

PAUL: Well, the path to citizenship is a longer, more difficult goal.

Q: But you don't rule it out as an end game?

PAUL: What I would say is that at this point in time I don't think any type of immigration reform will get out of Washington that includes a path to citizenship. But I do think that there is a path to a secure border and an expanded work visa program.

Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 22, 2014

Illegals are not bad people, but we have to control border

Q: Jeb Bush talked about how we shouldn't let the immigration issue rile people up:

(VIDEO CLIP): JEB BUSH: Yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony. It's an act of love.

Q: Do you agree with him on this?

PAUL: You know, I think he might have been more artful, maybe, in the way he presented this. But I don't want to say, oh, he's terrible for saying this. If it were me, what I would have said is, people who seek the American dream are not bad people.

Q: Even if they came into this country illegally?

PAUL: They are not bad people. However, we can't invite the whole world. When you say they're doing an act of love and you don't follow it up with, "but we have to control the border," people think well because they're doing this for kind reasons that the whole world can come to our country.

Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Apr 13, 2014

Latinos support GOP stances of faith and family values

Republicans need to become parents of a new future with Latino voters or we will need to resign ourselves to permanent minority status. The Republican Party has insisted for years that we stand for freedom and family values. I am most proud of my party when it stands for both. The vast majority of Latino voters agree with us on these issues but Republicans have pushed them away with harsh rhetoric over immigration.

In our zeal for border control, Republicans have been losing both the respect and votes of a group of people who already identify with our belief in family, faith, and conservative values. Hispanics should be a natural and sizable part of the Republican base. That they have steadily drifted away from the GOP in each election says more about Republicans than it does about Hispanics. Defense of the unborn and defense of traditional marriage are Republican issues that should resonate with Latinos but have been obscured by the misperception that Republicans are hostile to immigrants.

Source: 2012 official Senate press release, "Hispanics natural GOP" , Jun 12, 2013

Legal status, but not citizenship, for illegal immigrants

Q: On immigration, you call your plan for creating a legal status--not citizenship, but a legal status--for the 11 million folks who are already here. But you oppose the E-verify system which would make it easier for employers to check whether their workers are legal or illegal. Why?

PAUL: Well, that's not the main part of my plan. The main part of my plan is trust but verify, that says we have to have border security. The amendment that I will add to the bipartisan plan will ensure that there is border security and that Congress gets to vote on that border security every year, in order for it to go forward. With regard to E-verify, it's not that I'm opposed to some sort of database check. For example, when you come into the country, I think the country should do a background check on you to find out if you are a felon or if there's a problem. So I'm not against any kind of checking, I just would prefer the government to be the policeman and not the businessman.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2013 interviews: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 24, 2013

We will find a place for illegal immigrants in America

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is endorsing a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants. In a speech, the potential 2016 presidential candidate declares, "If you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you."

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.

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.

Source: Associated Press in Los Angeles Times , Mar 18, 2013

Replace de facto amnesty with bipartisan reform

Paul would aim to secure the border before illegal immigrants could begin taking steps toward citizenship, as a necessary first step to get support from conservatives. Congress would also have to agree annually for 5 years that border security was progressing in order for the other reforms to keep moving forward. In year two of his plan, illegal immigrants would begin to be issued temporary work visas, and would have to wait in line behind those already in the system before moving forward toward citizenship. A bipartisan panel would determine the number of visas per year. High-tech visas would be expanded and a special visa for entrepreneurs would be issued.

Paul would not attempt to crack down on employers by expanding working verification systems, something he says is tantamount to "forcing businesses to become policemen."

"My plan will not grant amnesty or move anyone to the front of the line," Paul says. "But what we have now is de facto amnesty."

Source: Associated Press in Los Angeles Times , Mar 18, 2013

See immigrants as assets, not liabilities

We are the party that embraces hard work and ingenuity, therefore we must be the party that embraces the immigrant who wants to come to America for a better future. We must be the party who sees immigrants as assets, not liabilities. We must be the party that says, "If you want to work, if you want to become an American, we welcome you."
Source: Tea Party Response to 2013 State of the Union Address , Feb 12, 2013

Obamacare treats illegal aliens because it's illegal to ask

Q: You want to repeal Obamacare and replace it with what you call market-driven principles.

PAUL: We had 45 million people nationwide that were not receiving or didn't have health insurance. A third of them were in the country illegally and were illegal aliens. And I don't think we should be giving illegal aliens health insurance.

Q: No, that's not true. Illegal aliens are not covered by "Obamacare."

PAUL: I know, but it's illegal to ask them if they're illegal, so it's sort of a Catch-22. The Republicans kept introducing an amendment to Obamacare to say, "You can ask if they're illegal aliens," and the Democrats kept shooting it down, saying, "No, you can't ask whether they're here legally or illegally."

Source: Fox News Sunday, 2010 Kentucky Senate debate , Oct 3, 2010

No amnesty; respect the law

Dr. Paul does not support amnesty. Those who come here should respect our laws. Dr. Paul supports legal immigration and recognizes that the country has been enriched by those who seek the freedom to make a life for themselves.
Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, www.randpaul2010.com, "Issues" , Jul 19, 2010

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Page last updated: Mar 24, 2016