Rand Paul spoke about immigration earlier today, his useful observations swamped by nonsense.
It is undoubtedly necessary to communicate to voters with roots in Latin America that the Republican party is, as Paul put it, not “just the party of deportation.” It would certainly be beneficial to “get beyond deportation to get to the rest of the issues” that conservatives care about.
Unfortunately, it appears that Paul didn’t simply mean that the GOP must expand its message beyond talk of deportations. Rather, it shouldn’t support deportations at all: “I think one way to get the door ajar is say that you know, Mrs. Garcia’s nephew is not going to be sent home to Mexico.” This would be in sync with the Obama administration’s policy of releasing hundreds of thousands of illegals aliens who had been arrested, or even convicted, for crimes. In fact, the administration is under pressure to halt deportations altogether, as Paul here seems to suggest. This has been promoted as the #Not1More campaign.
Paul also repeated, contrary to all evidence, the fairy tale that “Maybe half, maybe 60 percent” of Hispanics are conservative.
His most ridiculous assertion, one that calls into question his seriousness on the issue, was this:
“Forty percent of those who are here of the 11 million who don’t have the proper documents. Forty percent of them came with the proper documents and then somehow lost their documentation.”
Lost? Really? You don’t have to be a policy wonk to know that 5 million illegal aliens didn’t just misplace their visas. I’m assuming Senator Paul is neither a fool nor a liar, which means he’s so blinkered by dogma that facts have to be hammered into ridiculous shapes to fit his preconceptions.
This calls to mind his father’s demented assertion that “I think this fence business is designed and may well be used against us and keep us in.”
There’s no question Republicans need to do a better job at outreach to Hispanic and Asian voters. The problem is that the political class — including an ostensible dissenter like Senator Paul — is using this imperative as a pretext to push the anti-worker, crony-capitalist policy of de facto open borders.
Instead, conservatives need to articulate an alternative immigration policy (who and how many we admit and how we enforce the law) and immigrant policy (how we treat foreigners we’ve invited to live here). I’ve spelled out in these pages an immigration policy that can, indeed, “get us beyond deportation” (implement long-promised enforcement systems up front, focused primarily on preventing new arrivals, followed by a bargain of amnesty in exchange for cuts in legal admissions). As for immigrant policy, rather than pointless advertising that only enriches political consultants, outreach funds would be better spent opening a network of “American Opportunity Centers” in immigrant communities, staffed with Republican grassroots volunteers helping people study for the citizenship test, fill out their tax returns, navigate the red tape to start a new business, etc.
The GOP surely needs new thinking on immigration. I’m sorry to say Senator Paul is stuck in the old thinking.