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.”


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.


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.

  • https://twitter.com/tweetyuo Tangchung

    El’ wacko bird

  • http://extremesplash.wordpress.com/ Ben Bollman

    So basically Rand Paul is saying that illegal immigrants should follow the law and go through the legal immigration process like every other immigrant does. I don’t fully agree with that but it is certainly better than amnesty.

    • Cambria

      Exactly. Like Maxx said above, deporting 16 million illegals is a pipe dream. Rand is not offering amnesty or a cut in the line ahead of legal immigrants. His proposition seems to be the most realistic one so far.

      • http://extremesplash.wordpress.com/ Ben Bollman

        I would much rather the country follow Arizona’s immigration laws and not condone illegal immigration period but if we absolutely have to grant them some sort of citizenship Paul’s plan is the best way to do it since it uses the laws we already have in place.

  • conservativechick

    ‘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.’ From Rand Paul website. http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=issue&id=12

  • http://www.facebook.com/138900508 Patrick Dennehy

    He was on Hannity last night talking about it.

  • $23629333

    Surely, the ultimate goal should be a path to citizenship – although not necessarily the one the Democrats and the RINOs want. That doesn’t mean an automatic and blanket amnesty. There should be a period – perhaps two years – wherein illegal/undocumented immigrants are required and expected to step forward and identify themselves, and outline where they live and what they’re doing for a living. The path to citizenship would begin with this legalization of these immigrants’ residence in America.

    Anyone who has not taken this first step, after two years, would then be subject to immediate deportation. No doubt the gainfully employed people with family will be the ones most likely to register. The ones engaged in illegal activity are least likely to register, and they are precisely the ones we should want to deport.

    Two years after registration, the formal pursuit of citizenship can/should begin.

    With the increasing weight of the millions who contribute little – if anything – to the economy, it makes zero sense to jettison millions of people who are making a contribution. You can bet your sweet bippy that the folks in the first group will not do the work now being done by the second group.

    • https://twitter.com/davidjkramer DavidKramer

      Tell me how ANY illegal is contributing. Just one example, no hypotheticals.

      • $23629333

        An illegal/undocumented immigrant picking fruit is “contributing.” Not only is there a value to the work he/she is doing, there’s the fact that that fruit would not be picked – at the rate of pay earned by such immigrants – if folks born in America were expected to do it.

        Any illegal/undocumented immigrant who is gainfully employed is “contributing.” If these people did not provide a financial benefit to someone – in a position to bribe and otherwise influence elected officials – they would not be in America, in the numbers that they are.

        There are facts and figures which suggest that – on the whole – these immigrants represent a net loss, since they contribute less than they derive from the public treasury. But we’re not talking about all of them, just “ANY” one of them.

        • https://twitter.com/davidjkramer DavidKramer

          Ahhh, the old, they have jobs so they produce something contribution. Hmmmm, I guess they are doing the jobs Americans won’t do, like construction………..

      • http://twitter.com/KayGester KayGee

        People willing to work for less/no benefits at restaurant kitchens, yard work, and meat packing plants come to mind. In fact, I’d say the last one on this list, meat packing, would be the only example necessary to make the point that America has quite a few pillars of industry that rest on the shoulders of underpaid, undocumented illegal immigrants. One of the reasons mass produced meat is so cheap is because we have people willing to work dangerous jobs for less money to make it. And making your product on the cheap is always better for business, because you know all those ideas about unleashed capitalism, the free market, laissez faire and all that good stuff. In short, don’t hurt the job creators by taking away their cheap, disposable, undocumented workers.





  • Penmar

    Wow, that didn’t take long did it? They must be running scared of someone or something. But I think it might backfire especially if the Hispanic voters think he is for amnesty, I say we let them think so right up until after the election…you go buzzfeed, keep telling those lies.

  • Barbaric Yawwp

    Just another RINO traitor.

  • Lady 12

    His website stuff was dead on! Why did he have to flip-flop?

    • http://www.facebook.com/138900508 Patrick Dennehy

      Did he?

      • Lady 12

        From what I can tell, his website says one thing, but his statements say something else. That’s either flip-flopping or hypocrisy.

    • https://twitter.com/davidjkramer DavidKramer

      He has NOT flip flopped. What the hell is wrong with you people. All of the crap is coming from the DNC media, do you actually believe them?

      • Ken Walter

        I have read his speech. Twice. He certainly did not appear to be re-stating what is on the website. His statements today seem to allow for almost any possible ooutcome. It’s quite sad. I hadsuch hopes Mr. Paul.

        • https://twitter.com/davidjkramer DavidKramer

          I will ask again, will someone give me a link to this speech? I keep asking, no one gives me a linky.

  • Maxx

    Eventual pathways to citizenship which involve time, fines, military or civil service, etc or some sort of permanent alien status is not amnesty.

    We need to calm down for Pete’s sake. Rand understands the problem. He’s clearly not promoting amnesty.

    You’re not going to deport 16M illegals and the sooner we accept this, the better. It’s simply not going to happen. Dream all you want. Our own politicians for the past 30 years created this mess. Democrats AND Republicans. Now, they’re going to have to take responsibility for their apathy towards the border and FIX IT.

    Address the border first and get on with dealing with the 16M the previous three decades of elected officials allowed in with a blind eye and turned cheek. Deport law breakers, no doubt about it but figure out a way to deal with 16M that doesn’t involve goals that have absolutely ZERO percent chance of success and 100% chance of failure.

    NO Amnesty but some sort of tax-creating, permanent resident alien status seems to be the only logical way to right this ship and get on with a program that ensures we don’t repeat this mess 15 years from now. However, I would add one caveat. You commit a felony after receiving such status, you are deported. End of story.

    • 1972patriot

      Permanent resident status, yes…. rewarding illegals with citizenship after a probationary period, no. Rand Paul is a wild card… and crap like this right here is why he remains a luke-warm candidate for my vote.

      • https://twitter.com/davidjkramer DavidKramer

        Sooooo, you are falling for the DNC media manipulation of what he actually has stated.

        • 1972patriot

          Nooooo…. Rand Paul’s staff confirmed that he favors a path to citizenship without deportation. Look… I’m all for bringing these criminals out of the shadows by offering them an opportunity to right their wrongs through legal residency… this should be determined at the state level and on a case by case basis. BUT, they began their parasitic crusade into America as criminals and should never, ever, ever be rewarded with citizenship status unless they go back to where they came from and begin the naturalization process LEGALLY.

    • $45065723

      Agreed with the above. We can’t expect to deport 16M immigrants, and we can’t reward them with citizenship. We should offer legal status for immigrants that contribute to society (job, taxes, family, property owners, ect.) Furthermore, they can earn citizenship by serving in the military.

    • Paladin

      Yes indeed. There are young adults here who are illegal aliens because their parents brought them in when they were babies. America is the only country they’ve known, but they’re still here illegally. The big injustice is that it wasn’t dealt with when they overstayed their visa. Now we have a mess.

  • Steve_J

    Like McCain, Graham, and others Paul is now saying those following U S immigartion law to get to this country are stupid for doing so.

  • moonsbreath

    So, it’s still going to be “business as usual” for the illegals while they still stay here and work and collect benefits while they’re in a “probationary status.”
    Why bother? My community will still have high Hispanic crime rates and look like a dirty village out of Mexico.

  • Adela Wagner

    I understand people coming here from countries where they are persecuted for religious beliefs (my mom was one of these people), and I understand wanting to flee from dictatorships etc. Mexico is our neighbor, it is not a communist country, it is a rather corrupt country though. I would much rather see us help Mexico become a safer country to live and work than to send the MUSLIM FREAKING BROTHERHOOD 250 MILLION FREAKING DOLLARS! And for the U.S to have let the last Mex Prez come here and in a speech “diss” OUR immigration policy..well WTF!? He should have been SHAMED at that point, and asked what Mexico’s immigration policy is…

    But something I never hear anyone mention…the rate of exchange. Look it up, this week it is about 12.5 to 1. Which means all those whining about these poor people who are willing to work for 3.00 an hour at jobs “Americans just won’t do” are not taking into account that day workers go back to Mex. with a days pay of 24.00 US are exchanging for 3,000 pesos. The minimum wage in the zone of Mex. where Mex. City is = 62 pesos per DAY. So OF COURSE those “poor” people coming here for seasonal or day work are happy to work for 2-3 dollars an hour. Also, one of the jobs most worked by immigrants is NOT washing dishes or picking lettuce, it’s CONSTRUCTION.

    I am ALL for immigration, I am the daughter of a Cuban immigrant, but to hold out all kinds of incentives, enticing people to come and live off the hardwork of the American Taxpayers..well, that just creates animosity. People need to TELL THE TRUTH, about what we are dealing with here. Of Course the Mex. Prez wants Mexican people to work here, a ton of that money comes back into Mexico. Let’s help clean Mexico up, and share in the resources of both countries and have a working relationship, not create yet another “voting block’ for elitist politicians who are only pandering. Paul is correct in that cutting off the freebies will in itself weed out those who are shameless “takers” and those that want to work and are working may continue in that route but not experience citizenship is something I can stomach….for now. #1= SECURE the borders and CUT OFF the “free” stuff.

    • http://www.facebook.com/138900508 Patrick Dennehy

      Good post, totally agree

  • https://twitter.com/davidjkramer DavidKramer

    I just read a statement from Rand that said that he does not support citizenship for illegals, but hey, the DNC media says so…………so it must be true.

    • SouthronKittie

      Okay, so he doesn’t support a path to citizenship, but he said this and this is even worse: “If you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you”

      Most immigrants,legal and illegal, from south of the border and the other third world countries, don’t care about citizenship anyway. They just want to have their children here, get TANF, food stamps, SSI, EITC, housing, Medicaid, WIC, etc. Then when they’ve done that, they ruin our schools and fill our jails ,prisons, and hospitals.

  • Mister A

    Amnesty is clearly the worst idea, so I support any efforts to creatively solve this problem. Some food for thought here:

    If the undocumented workers with false SSN who have been paying into Social Security with no expectation of benefits at anytime are granted amnesty, say goodbye to an already insolvent Social Security.

  • https://twitter.com/davidjkramer DavidKramer

    From Rand Paul-

    “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.”

    Read more here- http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=issue&id=12

    But hey, Twitchy is just spreading the DNC message, it is not their fault that they parrot the WH talking points. Might as well go to MSNBC with this kind of reporting.

  • https://twitter.com/davidjkramer DavidKramer

    And THIS-

    “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.”


    I have been suggesting THIS for over a damn decade. Articles like this from supposed conservative outlets is why the DNC will win. Because you folks will just mimic the DNC media. Sad, really sad.

    I guess Twitchy will be shortly coming out in favor of the Obama plan, or maybe Jeb, or maybe Crispy Creme………………which is exactly what?

  • John_Frank

    Based on the Roll Call report, it is crystal clear that Senator Paul is talking about a pathway to citizenship without using that specific phrase.

    Got it. What is the difference between a pathway to citizenship and immediate amnesty?

    The length of time an individual has to wait before he or she can become a citizen.

    Yes, his position is that before a pathway opens, we need to secure the border.

    That is fine.

    The question remains, how do we deal with the people who are here illegally after the border is secured?

    Senator Rand does not believe we should deport these individuals.

    He also does not believe that we should require employers to enforce the law through an electronic verification system.

    Rather, he believes we should should grant these individuals a probationary resident status, and after a certain period of time passes, these individuals can, if they wish to, apply for citizenship and go through the ordinary process of becoming citizens.


    – How does he propose that we screen out all those who are simply not eligible due to the person’s background, criminal record, being a charge on the State, or a national security risk?

    – Do we want to have significant enclaves of non-citizens, who are not assimilated and bear no allegiance to America in our communities throughout the southern part of the country?

    – What kind of issues will such enclaves create?

    – How does this impact the citizens of these communities?

    I am certain that people who live in a community were there is a large illegal immigrant population can tell us what these enclaves presently look like, the arising issues and what impact they have on the community.

    Those who believe in the rule of law are not going to favor his approach.

    Furthermore, the suggestion that we need to take this approach so that we can attract votes from a certain demographic begs another question, why would that demographic lend their support when the other side will simply up the ante?

    The other concern I have with this whole proposal is why the rush?

    Immigration reform is not a priority issue for the American public.

    Is it because Senator Rand Paul is running for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination; and that if he wins the nomination he believes he could not be elected without a different stance then what he took when he was elected to the Senate, so he is staking out that new position now?

    It seems clear that is what is going on.

    Given that his position on immigration when he ran for the Senate and was elected is different from what he now supports, and he is taking this position because of his national aspirations, how do his electors in Kentucky feel about this change in position?

    While he may have aspirations for higher office, last time I checked, he is presently being paid by the tax payers to represent the interests of the people who elected him to the U.S. Senate, not to run for the Presidency.

    Just an observation.

    Sorry, no sale.