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Rand Paul on Immigration

After appearing on Hannity last night to discuss his CPAC straw poll victory, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul gave a speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce this morning laying out more details of his plans on immigration reform. His speech was also timely, considering the RNC autopsy report released yesterday, pointing to the obvious GOP weakness in attracting minority voters.

Rand Paul starts the conversation about immigration reform by acknowledging the fact that deporting 11+ million illegal immigrants isn't a logical solution to the problem. He says, “If you wish to work, if you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you.” He continues, “In order to bring conservatives to this cause however, those who work for reform must understand that a real solution must ensure that our borders are secure.” This is where Rand Paul's plan differs from the bipartisan plan proposed by fellow GOP rising star Marco Rubio. The main difference between the two plans is that Rand Paul's plan demands that border security come before any immigration reform can take place. Senator Paul explained this last night on Hannity and again today: Each year Congress would reassess and vote on whether or not progress has been made in securing the border.

So the first part of Rand Paul's plan, which takes place over a number of years (five), is securing the border - certified by Border Patrol and an Investigator General – and then voted on by Congress. Then the issue becomes: What do you do with the 11-12 million illegal immigrants who are already here? Paul's plan calls for a bipartisan panel to determine the number of visas per year available for those who are willing to come forward and work. “High tech visas would also be expanded and have a priority. Special entrepreneurial visas would also be issued.” Senator Paul does not consider this amnesty, but rather a “probation where those who came illegally become legal through a probationary period.”

Senator Paul's plan does not call for national ID cards or mandatory e-verify, which he says causes “businesses to become policemen.”

One interesting point to note is that media reports throughout the day have been labeling this as, “Sen. Paul endorses path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.” But if you read Rand Paul's speech, he never mentions a path to citizenship …