Rand Paul has added the unsavory word, and all that it encompasses,to his vocabulary, endorsing it under its euphemism “immigration reform,” which sounds like positive self-help that should be embraced by all. But it isn’t.
Furthermore, Mr. Paul may have caused a chasm in the Tea Party by joining the ranks of amnesty advocates.
Washington Times reports on Rand Paul’s decision to get behind the controversial issue:
Senator Rand Paul on Wednesday waded deeper into an issue that has proved perilous to some of his GOP colleagues, throwing his political weight behind an establishment lobby effort to get Congress to reform the country’s immigration system this year.
Mr. Paul, a libertarian-leaning Republican from Kentucky and possible 2016 presidential hopeful, participated in a telephone conference call to conservative and business leaders in favor of immigration reform in an effort brokered by anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, The Washington Times has learned. The business group, the Partnership for a New American Economy, immediately blasted an email Wednesday evening to supporters crowing that Mr. Paul had formally joined its pro-reform effort.
The timing of the call only heightened the potential stakes for Mr. Paul just one day after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was shockingly ousted from office in the Virginia Republican primary in favor of a little-known college professor. Tea party activists who whipped up a get-out-the-vote effort for Mr. Cantor’s opponent said they were motivated by the incumbent’s advocacy for immigration reform, actions on Obamacare and vote to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
Mr. Cantor was the second high-profile Republican to suffer political damage by stepping forward on the immigration issue. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, another potential presidential contender, lost the support of his tea party base when he advocated a plan for immigration that some argued created a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
Mr. Paul, a longtime favorite of the tea party movement, has made it clear that he believes Congress needs the courage to enact immigration reform. But his latest effort pushed him further into the middle of a strident battle between establishment Republicans like Mr. Norquist who see immigration reform as essential to economic growth, and tea party activists who fear the current efforts in Congress will only lead to de facto amnesty for illegal immigrants.
“Rand made the calls on immigration reform with Grover this morning,” Doug Stafford, who heads Mr. Paul’s political action committee, told The Times. The email from the group announcing Mr. Paul’s participation opened with a subject line that stated that the senator “adds voice to #CallForReform.” “Today, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) joined Grover Norquist to talk about the importance of passing immigration reform this year on the second call in a series with conservative leaders,” the group’s executive director, Jeremy Robbins, wrote in the email.
The message went on to note that “Senator Paul follows Sal Russo, co-founder of the Tea Party Express, who launched the series last month by calling for an overhaul of America’s immigration laws this year.” The email concluded by noting that Mr. Paul and Mr. Russo “join an increasingly large group of conservatives who understand that the future of our economy depends on fixing our outdated immigration reform system.” Many Americans of all political stripes regard the phrase “immigration reform” as code for granting amnesty to foreigners living in the U.S. illegally.
To some “rule of law” conservatives, it is a swear word. To other conservatives, putting millions of illegal immigrants on the road to legal status and eventually to citizenship is realistic politically and fair for people who flee warlords, drug lords and dysfunctional economies abroad to find work in the U.S. The Partnership for a New American Economy boasts such high-profile members as former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a common foe of gun rights advocates and many other conservatives, and the equally wealthy Rupert Murdoch, the conservative owner of major newspapers and the Fox television family of news and entertainment channels.
The organization’s website claims it “brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic, and independent mayors and business leaders united in making the economic case for streamlining, modernizing, and rationalizing our immigration system.” Mr. Paul has been calling for a reform of immigration, that requires securing the borders first, provides for a robust guest-worker program and can, under certain conditions, lead to the legalization of those who entered the U.S. without authorization or who overstayed their visas.
With President Obama calling the influx of illegal immigrants a crisis at 92% increase over last year, it’s no wonder there is an outcry of urgency to turn off the spigot pouring out people from south of the border.
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