Senator Rand Paul is undecided on the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill, but that doesn’t mean he’s unsure of where he stands on the issue.
In a speech to Latino pastors on Wednesday, Paul will articulate his position, including a call for the GOP to “embrace more legal immigration.” He’ll urge Republicans to have “compassion” for people who want to work in the United States, and to remember the “human face” behind the political battle.
Paul’s speech, which was obtained by National Review Online, is part of his push this month to both amend the Gang’s legislation and improve the GOP’s standing with Latinos. That means calling for beefed-up border-security measures, as well as calling out conservatives who use incendiary rhetoric. “We’re not talking about criminals,” he says. “We’re talking about immigrant workers caught up in a failed government-visa program.”
Paul will also voice support for granting work visas to millions of undocumented workers as part of a larger package that includes carefully monitored improvements to border security. “The solution doesn’t have to be amnesty or deportation,” he says. “A middle ground might be called probation, where those who came here illegally become legal through a probationary period.”
Paul’s camp is mum on whether the speech signals that he’s moving closer to voting for the Gang’s proposal. But it is a sign that he’s open to considering a variety of options, and that he wants to do more than just block the bill.
“Common sense and decency have been neglected for far too long,” Paul says. “Let’s secure our borders, welcome our new neighbors, and practice the values of freedom and family for all to see.”
Paul will speak at the Hyatt Regency hotel on Capitol Hill. The Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference are sponsoring the event.