Rand Paul calls it an “eventual path” to citizenship for illegals and believes it is something that needs to be done, and he believes his conservative credentials can help him do it. Of course he only spoke of it somewhat generally some I’m not exactly sure what “eventual path” means, only that he says “but we don’t make anybody tomorrow a citizen who came here illegally.”
POLITICO – In an interview with POLITICO, Paul said he’ll return to Congress this week pushing measures long avoided by his party. He wants to work with liberal Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Republicans to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for pot possession. He wants to carve a compromise immigration plan with an “eventual path” to citizenship for illegal immigrants, a proposal he believes could be palatable to conservatives. And he believes his ideas — along with pushing for less U.S. military intervention in conflicts overseas — could help the GOP broaden its tent and appeal to crucial voting blocs that handed Democrats big wins in the West Coast, the Northeast and along the Great Lakes.
Paul plans to inject himself into the middle of the GOP’s emotional immigration debate in the wake of Romney losing swing states with heavy Latino populations like Florida, Colorado and Nevada. Paul is working on a novel plan that he says would “assimilate” many of the 12 million illegal immigrants currently in the country. Those individuals, he said, could apply for legal status, but immigration would then be clamped down in the interim. He also says his plan would toughen security at the border.
“I want to show what conservatives would or can accept,” he said in describing his plan. “If we assimilate those who are here, however they got here — don’t make it an easy path for citizenship. There would be an eventual path, but we don’t make anybody tomorrow a citizen who came here illegally. But if they’re willing to work, willing to pay taxes, I think we need to normalize those who are here.”
Paul said the “trade-off” would be “not to accept any new legal immigrants while we’re assimilating the ones who are here.” Asked if he is concerned about the ripple effect that could cause around the world, Paul said the details over which countries would be affected are still in the works.
But it’s clear Paul wants to have a voice in the roiling debate, even as other prospective 2016 GOP players, such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, plan to assert their views when Congress takes up immigration reform next year.
“I think I might have the ability to get out in front of this issue,” Paul said when asked if he believed conservatives would cry “amnesty” over such a plan. “I think I might have the ability because nobody really questions — at least not so far — whether I’m conservative enough.”