Rand Paul: ‘Our Only Hope’ for Immigration Reform Lies in the House

by Will Allen

In a wide-ranging interview on The Laura Ingraham Show this morning, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) aired his views on immigration, foreign policy, and the process of appealing to minority voters at the polls. 

Paul, who has inveighed against the comprehensive immigration bill that is expected to pass the Senate this week, reposed his hopes for immigration reform entirely in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives: “The bottom line is, our only hope is that Speaker Boehner will stand strong and will not allow something to come out of the House that is not a good bill.” Should the effort reach the conference-committee stage, “I would be concerned that the Republican conferees in the Senate will be people that supported the bill.” The freshman Republican also stressed that “Part of preventing illegal immigration is to make legal immigration and the work visa program work. . . . People are coming in to pick crops; let’s make sure” that they enter legally.

On foreign policy, Paul enjoined the United States to avoid the “murky situation” in Syria, warning that President Obama’s current effort to arm the rebels could result in a de facto alliance with extremists who will be “killing Christians” (he Assad regime has traditionally protected the Christian minority in Syria). The son of former Texas congressman Ron Paul cast his libertarian worldview in terms less stark than those favored by his father, whose firm antiwar stance made him a frequent outlier in Republican caucuses and presidential races. “I’m a fan of Reagan’s; I believe in peace through strength, but not necessarily war through strength,” Senator Paul explained. “I think we should be strong enough that no one will ever attack us; and if we are attacked, then we respond with overwhelming force.”

In reference to his possible campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, Paul expressed hope that his libertarian beliefs could help him among traditionally Democratic black voters: “I think a less aggressive foreign policy is number one. I think we should end federal mandatory minimums on sentencing for non-violent crime,” such as marijuana possession.  He would also consider “giving property [tax credits] for people who will redevelop areas with abandoned housing.” He added that “The libertarian idea that no one should be incarcerated without a trial rings very true” for blacks and Asian-Americans, explaining that both groups have a history of incarceration without trial in America (apparently referring in the latter case to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II).

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