Paul warms to path to citizenship
WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Rand Paul said on Tuesday that illegal immigrants should be allowed to become taxpayers and ultimately get a chance to become citizens, a significant step for the Tea Party favorite amid growing Republican acceptance of the idea.
“Let's start that conversation by acknowledging we aren't going to deport” the millions already here, the potential 2016 presidential candidate told the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Prudence, compassion and thrift all point us toward the same goal: bringing these workers out of the shadows and into becoming and being taxpaying members of society.”
It was the latest sign that the Republican Party is moving to broaden its appeal to politically influential Latinos and other ethnic minorities because of significant election losses last fall. Paul spoke a day after 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.
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators is nearing agreement on sweeping legislation to overhaul the nation's immigration policy, an effort that could get a boost from Paul's stance.
“Immigration reform will not occur until conservative Republicans, like myself, become part of the solution. I am here today to begin that conversation and to be part of the solution,” Paul said.
The Kentucky Republican said for him to support probationary status for illegal immigrants, a stronger border must happen first, and Congress must agree that border security has improved. The path to citizenship he envisions would carry other conditions, too, that would make it long and difficult for illegal immigrants to travel.
Underscoring the political risks conservative Republicans face in embracing citizenship for illegal immigrants, Paul never used the word “citizenship” in his 17-minute speech, and aides sought to emphasize that his focus is on border security and on getting illegal immigrants into a probationary legal worker status.
Indeed, amid concern from GOP activists when in early reports on the speech by The AP and other outlets, Paul offered different explanations of his proposal.
The clearest reference to citizenship came in a copy of the speech Paul's office provided to The AP on Monday night. In it, Paul says: “The solution doesn't have to be amnesty or deportation — a middle ground might be called probation where those who came illegally become legal through a probationary period, and then enter another five-year period of holding a full green card.” Green cards are the permanent resident visas whose holders become eligible after five years to obtain citizenship.
But Paul omitted any reference to green cards when he spoke, and the reference was not included in the text of the speech handed out at the Hispanic Chamber event. Paul's staff said it was removed in late edits but they didn't say why.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Obama rules out military response
- U.S. waffling on ISIS feeds confusion among possible allies
- Prison term for Detroit porch gunman debated
- Military pilot was killed in Va. crash
- Arizona county clears girl shooter in gun range death
- Study examines body’s bacteria on move indoors
- Judge reaffirms Texas’ ‘Robin Hood’ system of school funding unconstitutional
- Feds strip Oklahoma of education funding decisions
- Chicago officer accused of putting gun in suspect’s mouth
- Death Valley ‘sailing rocks’ linked to freeze-warm cycle
- Ferguson sued over police actions amid riots