Mixed messages: Does Rand Paul really back a ‘path to citizenship’ for illegal immigrants? Update: Looks that way

On Monday, the Associated Press and BuzzFeed reported that Sen. Rand Paul would embrace a “path to citizenship” in his speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The title of BuzzFeed’s post: “Rand Paul will support a path to citizenship.”

buzzfeed-rand-paul

Some Twitter users indicated “path to citizenship” was in quotes in BuzzFeed’s title before the inaccuracy was brought to the site’s attention. An itsy bitsy problem there:

The Washington Examiner’s Conn Carroll also notes that a “path to citizenship” wasn’t mentioned in Paul’s speech.

While the government should try enforcing existing laws before playing the amnesty game, as Carroll noted in January, there’s a difference between a path to citizenship and permanent noncitizen resident status.

So, Paul’s staffers deny that he endorses a pathway to citizenship and his speech didn’t mention such a pathway. Here’s a link to the full speech:

RedState’s Erick Erickson says he spoke with Paul and the AP and BuzzFeed were wrong.

But then there’s this:

And this:

And this:

And here’s what Paul said in November:

“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.

Here’s what Paul’s website currently states about immigration:

I do not support amnesty, I support legal immigration and recognize that the country has been enriched by those who seek the freedom to make a life for themselves. However, millions of illegal immigrants are crossing our border without our knowledge and causing a clear threat to our national security. I want to work in the Senate to secure our border immediately. In addition, I support the creation of a border fence and increased border patrol capabilities.

Immigrants should meet the current requirements, which should be enforced and updated. I realize that subsidizing something creates more of it, and do not think the taxpayer should be forced to pay for welfare, medical care and other expenses for illegal immigrants. Once the subsidies for illegal immigration are removed, the problem will likely become far less common.

I support local solutions to illegal immigration as protected by the 10th amendment. I support making English the official language of all documents and contracts.

Millions crossing our border without our knowledge constitutes a clear threat to our nation’s security. Instead of closing military bases at home and renting space in Europe, I am open to the construction of bases to protect our border.

Paul needs to make a statement to clarify his stance immediately.

Update:

Without using the phrase, Paul appeared to confirm to reporters that he does support a path to citizenship after a probationary period.

“You have an option to get in the line, and you get a work visa if you want to work,” Paul said when asked if he supports a path to citizenship.

Paul rejected the idea of deporting undocumented immigrants or immediately giving them citizenship. Instead, he argued for a probationary status.

“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,” Paul said.

Paul also said his team is in talks with the Gang of 8, but it isn’t the “gang of eight plus one” … yet.

Byron York notes that Paul’s plan calls for border security, verified by Congress in an annual vote, before any path to citizenship is on the table.

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