While Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) asked that fellow conservative Republicans become “part of the solution” regarding U.S. immigration laws on Tuesday, he did not endorse a path to citizenship for the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.
The Washington Post reported that one of Paul’s advisers, speaking anonymously, denied previous reports to the contrary. The adviser said that Paul’s proposal, delivered in a speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, offered immigrants “a quicker path to normalization, not citizenship, and being able to stay, work and pay taxes legally.”
Paul made his remarks a day after a report commissioned by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus called on the party to rebuild its relationship with communities of color, and less than a week after winning the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
The Tea Party senator’s proposal called for undocumented immigrants currently living in the country to be able to apply for temporary work visas within two years.
“Immigration will not occur until conservative Republicans, like myself, become part of the solution,” Paul said. “That’s why I’m here today. To begin, that conversation and become part of the solution.”
But Paul’s apparent refusal to push for full citizenship still places him at odds with other Republicans, including another party favorite, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Rubio is one of four GOP members involved in the bipartisan “Group of 8” that has been working on its own legislation proposal, which reportedly will allow immigrants to work their way toward full citizenship.
According to Think Progress, Paul’s proposal also differs from both
the group’s plan and President Barack Obama’s own proposal in that it opposes the expansion of the “E-Verify” system that allows businesses to confirm their employees’ immigration status. Critics have deried the system as being error-prone and costly.
One of the four Democratic senators working with Rubio on that proposal, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), noted those differences in a statement released on Tuesday.
“The consensus continues to grow in favor of immigration reform that contains a path to citizenship,” Schumer said. “While there are certainly differences between our emerging product and Senator Paul’s outline, there is also a lot of common ground. In the coming months, Congress has a unique opportunity to make America a fairer and economically stronger place. We must come together to seize this opportunity.”