Rand Paul Unveils Amnesty/Non-Amnesty Plan

"I've never met a new immigrant looking for a free lunch," Rand Paul says.

According to all the headlines, Rand Paul's speech was supposed to unveil a "path to citizenship". The actual speech is vague on that, emphasizing work visas, but also using phrasing like "12 million more people assimilating into society" that suggests something more permanent is on the table.

(UPDATE: Yes, there is a path to citizenship/Amnesty but it takes longer.)

Paul's people are claiming that he doesn't actually mean a path to citizenship, but Paul has a history of vague proposals that use the right language to signal one thing while meaning another.

Overall there is nothing new here. While Paul describes this as his proposal, even the language is largely lifted from the GOP immigration reform pushes of the last six years.

It's textbook Bush/Gang of 8 stuff that begins with and emphasizes border security. And then nothing else. Unlike the Gang of 8, Paul isn't even endorsing employer verification. And his border security plan lacks actual details short of the "We need to secure the border" pitch that every immigration reform politician has made.


1. "Republicans have alienated Latinos with immigration policy," Rand says.

"The Republican Party has insisted for years that we stand for freedom and family values. I am most proud of my party when it stands for both. The vast majority of Latino voters agree with us on these issues but Republicans have pushed them away with harsh rhetoric over immigration."

This natural constituency rhetoric has been questioned before. Do the majority of Latino voters really agree on cutting spending or limiting government power?

Do they support ending ObamaCare?

How many Latino votes could Rand Paul get if he ran for the Senate in Colorado, instead of Kentucky?


2. "I've never met a new immigrant looking for a free lunch," Rand Paul says.

Maybe he should get out more. I meet them every time I stand in line at the supermarket and see the EBT card being used by virtually every immigrant in line to buy food.

And I say that, by the way, as someone who immigrated to this country at a young age.


3. "Republicans who criticize the use of two languages make a great mistake," Rand Paul says, and does his best to show how much he really loves Spanish.

So I guess we're giving up on English too.


4. "The question is: How do we now reflect this in our 21st century immigration policy?... It is absolutely vital for both the success of our immigration policy and for the purposes of national security that we finally secure our borders," Rand Paul says.

This is a new and innovative policy that only Bush, McCain and Rubio have thought of before.


5. "Let's start that conversation by acknowledging we aren't going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants... If you wish to work, if you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you," Rand Paul says.

So we're going to secure the border, but we're not going to deport anyone and we're going to welcome in anyone who wants to come here, but... but... we're for securing the border.

For some reason.


6. "The first part of my plan - border security - must be certified by Border Patrol and an Investigator General and then voted on by Congress to ensure it has been accomplished."

This puts it a slight step ahead of the Gang of 8 plan which lacks a clear certification process, but it probably doesn't matter much considering that it would just give Congress an excuse to do what it wants to do anyway by breaking down the process into discrete elements.


7. "Imagine 12 million people who are already here coming out of the shadows to become new taxpayers.12 million more people assimilating into society. 12 million more people being productive contributors."

Imagine 12 million more people collecting food stamps and Medicaid.


8. "Conservatives, myself included, are wary of amnesty. My plan will not grant amnesty or move anyone to the front of the line... But what we have now is de facto amnesty."

This is a line that Rand Paul borrowed from Rubio and it's nonsense. Amnesty is legalization. Lack of total enforcement is not amnesty. Paul doesn't like the word amnesty. Neither does Rubio. And the use of "front of the line" and "de facto amnesty" suggests that Paul is largely getting his ideas on this from the Gang of 8.


9. "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.

My plan will not impose a national ID card or mandatory E-Verify, forcing businesses to become policemen."

Paul is rather vague on his solution, it seems to heavy on work visas and not much else, meaning no real enforcement at the employer level, some added border enforcement and a flood of cheap labor to take away jobs from Americans.

Not the sort of thing you want to do in a bad economy, but hard core libertarians tend to go open market and open borders all the way.


10. "As we move forward on immigration reform, I for one will work to find a solution that both adheres to the rule of law and makes room for compassion."

Good news. We have another compassionate conservative in the house.


So what was the point of all this? Paul's proposal is a non-proposal that isn't going anywhere. It offers something to the pro-illegal lobby without completely alienating conservative voters. It avoids offending libertarians with too much enforcement while not satisfying pro-enforcement voters.

The real point of this political ploy is to show the GOP that they don't need Rubio to appeal to Hispanics, because Rand Paul can appeal to Hispanics just as well because he speaks Spanish and spent some time around Latinos as a kid.