Short of Marco Rubio's Immigration Reforms, Rand Paul Endorses Legal Status for Illegal Workers
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Rand Paul sanctioned a pathway for illegal immigrants to be granted legal status in the U.S. on Tuesday, but stopped short of endorsing citizenship.
Speaking to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Republican said, “If you wish to work, if you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you,” reports Politico.
Paul is fresh off his straw poll win at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he bested another buzzed-about potential 2016 presidential candidate, Florida’s Marco Rubio, 25 percent to 23 percent.
Tuesday’s stance on immigration is perhaps a telling sign of Paul’s ambition for the White House. Garnering the Hispanic vote has been widely outlined as crucial to a winning formula for upcoming elections. And, with his announcement, Paul has also embraced an issue that has been owned by Rubio. The Florida Republican senator has been working on bipartisan immigration reform as a member of the so-called “gang of eight.”
Paul’s position reflects a huge turnaround in two short years. In 2011, he proposed a constitutional amendment that would have stripped children of illegal immigrants from birthright citizenship.
But, unlike Rubio, Paul was adamant that he has not embraced a path to citizenship.
“I didn’t use the word citizenship at all this morning,” Paul told the Washington Post after reading inaccurate media accounts of his address. ”Basically, what I want to do is to expand the worker-visa program, have border security and then as far as how people become citizens, there already is a process for how people become citizens. The main difference is, I wouldn’t have people be forced to go home. You’d just get in line. But you get in the same line everyone is in.”