Rand Paul prepares 180-degree flip on immigration rhetoric (UPDATE)

If you followed Rand Paul’s general election campaign for Senate in 2010 right after he imploded while opining on the tyranny of the Civil Rights Act on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” you probably remember the dizziness you felt watching Rand Paul quickly flip on many of his controversial positions in order to get elected. But since he’s been in office, there’s been at least some degree of consistency to his unique brand of white male Liberty patriotism.

But that’s about to change in a big way, as Sen. Paul has passed around a preview of his new speech on immigration reform that he’s set to give today.

One of Rand Paul’s first acts as a U.S. senator was to sponsor a constitutional amendment aimed at stopping “anchor babies,” gutting the 14th amendment to prevent all of those Mexican ladies from giving birth to U.S. citizens.

When he was running for Senate, he also described the incredibly popular DREAM Act — which would provide a path to citizenship for those brought to America by their immigrant parents as a child — like so:

“Washington liberals are trying to push through the so-called DREAM Act, which creates an official path to Democrat voter registration for 2 million college-age illegal immigrants,” said Paul, also referring to the bill as “the Washington elitists’ roundabout way of giving amnesty to illegal immigrant students and undermining the rule of law.”

Paul also liked to use the noun “illegals” to describe these criminal “threats to our national security” who mooched off our welfare system, which is why he consistently supported Arizona’s draconian SB 1070 law.

And if you look at Sen. Paul’s government website this morning, you’ll see that he even wants to go the extra step of “making English the official language of all documents and contracts,” so you “illegals” can take your tilde and go back to where you came from.

But today? Today, you’re getting the kinder, gentler Rand Paul (who can read polls and understands electoral demographics):

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is endorsing a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants, a significant move for a favorite of tea party Republicans who are sometimes hostile to such an approach.

In a speech to be delivered Tuesday morning to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the potential 2016 presidential candidate declares, “If you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you.” A copy of the speech was obtained in advance by The Associated Press.


Paul’s speech is peppered with Spanish phrases from his youth in Texas, references to his immigrant grandparents and praise for Latino culture. He says his party must adopt a new face toward Hispanics and says conservatives must be part of it.

“Immigration reform will not occur until conservative Republicans, like myself, become part of the solution. I am here today to begin that conversation,” Paul says.

“Let’s start that conversation by acknowledging we aren’t going to deport” the millions already here, he says.

For Paul, there are political overtones to his newly articulated stance, since he’s viewed as a potential presidential candidate and Hispanics are an increasingly important part of the electorate. Latino voters overwhelmingly backed President Barack Obama last year, helping seal his re-election, and Paul said the GOP needs to reverse that trend or risk “permanent minority status.”

Paul also goes on to say that “Republicans who criticize the use of two languages, I think, make a great mistake.” I guess it’s time to update that Senate website, huh?

Words are nice, but we’ll wait to see the actual details of his immigration policy before we crown him Mr. Compassionate Conservative.

***** UPDATE *****

Here’s the text of Paul’s full speech. We counted three “illegals” and three “undocumented.” We’ve never heard Paul use the word undocumented before. Baby steps to civility, here we come?

***** UPDATE #2 *****

Just in case anyone bought the Paul hype about any type of awesome policy change — instead of just the entirely commendable change in rhetoric — Sen. Paul’s office would now like you to know that refunds are available:

Advisers to Sen. Rand Paul say the Kentucky Republican did not, in fact, endorse a faster path to citizenship, despite many reports Tuesday morning that he had.

Many outlets, including the Washington Post, had reported Paul would back a path to citizenship in his speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, dating back to Monday evening, when the Associated Press obtained an advance copy of Paul’s remarks.

“The AP story was wrong, which spurred a lot of erroneous reports,” Paul’s office said in a statement. “He does not mention ‘path to citizenship’ in his speech at all.”

One Paul adviser told Post Politics that the path to citizenship Paul is pushing doesn’t make it any easier to attain citizenship than current law allows.

“They would get into the back of the line and get no special privileges to do so,” said the adviser, who wasn’t authorized to comment publicly. “What his plan is extending to them is a quicker path to normalization, not citizenship, and being able to stay, work and pay taxes legally.”

At the root of the confusion appears to be the difference between legal status and citizenship.

The comprehensive immigration reform plan proposed by a bipartisan group of senators led by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who like Paul is a potential 2016 presidential candidate, does include a path to citizenship.

Those two hours were fun while they lasted though, right?


  1. Lindy
    Posted March 19, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Of course he’s flip-flopping all over the place. He has delusions of being president. Which is laughable considering the way Republicans had a hissy fit of Pres. Obama’s supposed lack of experience.

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    Posted March 19, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

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