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Rand Paul Runs Away from Pro-Immigrant Positions Much the Way He Did from Pro-Immigrant Activists
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is the latest official entrant into the 2016 Republican presidential field, describing himself as a “different kind of Republican.” Sen. Paul’s theory of winning the presidency is based on “trying to “make the party bigger” and by urging ”the party to reach out to young voters and minorities.” However, when it comes to immigration, his actual voting record and policy stances directly contradict this stated goal.
Despite making numerous statements regarding the importance of immigration reform, Paul voted against the Senate’s immigration reform bill in 2013 which passed on a bipartisan basis by 68-32 and attracted significant Republican support. Despite saying his party needs to reach out to immigrants, he is an outspoken opponent of immigration executive action. Despite stating he supports immigration reform, he was one of the first in the 2016 field to espouse the vacuous “border security first” position – which, for true advocates of comprehensive immigration reform, is code for “reform never.” And despite calling himself a constitutional conservative, Paul has voiced support for reinterpreting the 14th Amendment in order to end birthright citizenship. Paul’s immigration positions not only alienate Latino voters, who view the immigration issue through a personal lens, but young voters of all races.
(Read up on more of Rand Paul’s record and rhetoric on immigration at the America’s Voice 2016 candidate tracking website: http://americasvoice.org/research/meet-2016-gop-candidates-president-positions-immigration/)
In fact, Paul’s unique contribution to the immigration debate may be his insistence on running away from it entirely. Last August, the internet skewered Sen. Paul when he abruptly put down his burger and bolted, rather than joining Rep. Steve King (R-IA) in an immigration discussion with prominent Dreamers Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas. He is also running away from the heart of the immigration debate – what should America do with 11 million undocumented immigrants who live and work here but have no line to get into – by embracing the “border security first” notion. The “border first” phrase is at odds with the real facts on the ground regarding border security and a ready excuse to “move the goalposts” so as to avoid the central question in the debate. For example, Republicans have perpetually declared an insecure border, even when benchmarks have been met, in order to avoid voting for a pragmatic approach that couples smarter enforcement with a path to legal status and eventual citizenship.
According to Frank Sharry, “Rand Paul’s speeches say yes to reform, but his votes and policy positions scream just the opposite. He opposes executive action; he voted against a comprehensive immigration reform bill that was designed to attract Republican support; and he wants to mess with the Constitution in order to deny certain babies U.S. citizenship. He may think that voters who care about immigrants and immigration reform are stupid. He may think that young people who want a new kind of politics won’t see through the rhetoric to discover his hypocrisy on immigration. He may come to realize that voters want real solutions and courageous leaders, not new-sounding rhetoric that adds up to no solutions at all.”