Senator Rand Paul—who many American conservatives hoped would continue his father’s anti-illegal immigration platform—has definitively turned his back on real immigration control and has instead endorsed a path to legal status for all illegal immigrants.
Paul made the turnabout announcement today in a speech before the “US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce” (note that there would never be a “European-American Chamber of Commerce,” because that, surely, would be racist) in which he said that “undocumented immigrants should ultimately be allowed to have a legal status in the US.”
“If you wish to work; if you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you,” Paul told his audience.
“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.”
Paul’s spokeswoman Eleanor May said his plan was to “extend a quicker path to normalization, and being able to stay and work.”
Paul proposed no additional obligations for employers, saying, “My plan will not impose a national ID card or mandatory E-Verify, forcing businesses to become policemen.”
Earlier this year, Paul argued it could lead to business owners discriminating against Hispanic workers.
“I don’t mind if there’s E-Verify, maybe related to the tax code somehow,” Paul said. “But I don’t like the idea of making every business owner a policeman.”
He criticized his party’s handling of the issue, saying “Hispanics should be a natural and sizable part of the Republican base.”
He added that conservative Republicans should start by “acknowledging we aren’t going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants.”
“Republicans need to become parents of a new future with Latino voters or we will need to resign ourselves to permanent minority status,” he said, adding later: “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.”
Paul opened his speech with what he admitted was “spanglish,” proclaimed his love for Latin culture and the works of Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Garcia Marquez, and discussed his youth in Texas at length.
Paul’s about turn was welcomed by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), one of the bi-partisan supporters of the new comprehensive immigration reform initiative.
“The consensus continues to grow in favor of immigration reform that contains a path to citizenship,” Schumer said. “While there are certainly differences between our emerging product and Senator Paul’s outline, there is also a lot of common ground.”
Paul’s latest policy change is the surest indication yet that he really has little idea of what is causing the overall decline in America, and offers no solution different from the traditional conservatives that his father used to despise so much.