EXCLUSIVE – Rand Paul: Secure the Border

I am for immigration reform because I am against allowing 12 million more illegal immigrants into our country. If we do nothing, 12 million more illegal immigrants will come. We must be in favor of reform—smart reform that starts with border security. 

Characterizing that position as "amnesty" is simply untrue.

What we have now is a lawless border. Current policy is a beacon for more illegal immigrants. The Obama administration’s lawless executive orders legalizing people who came here illegally will only encourage more illegal immigration—unless we act now with real, strong, verifiable border security.

I am for immigration reform because what we have now is untenable. I voted against the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration reform bill because it did not secure the border first. I will only support reform that has border security first as verifiable and ascertained by Congress, not the president.

My plan will not give the president the authority to simply declare that the border is secure. It will require yearly votes of Congress to ensure the president doesn't get around the law.

My "Trust but Verify" plan will ensure that our border is secure. Under my plan, national security and border security will move as the first element of any reform and would require annual votes of Congress to establish that the border is truly secure. No other reform could go forward until this happened. 

In addition to increased border security, our nation needs to modernize our visa system. We need to know who comes and goes on travel, student, and other temporary visas. There must be a workable system to ensure that visitors don't use travel visas as a way to enter the country then disappear. This will address the problem of visa over-stayers.

National security has to be a cornerstone to any border security and visa reform initiative. Our nation needs to look back at the September 11th Commission Report and study the recommendations regarding terrorists' use of visas to commit acts of violence against America. The 9/11 hijackers used visas to enter the country and to stay here while planning attacks. 

Strong border security includes using cutting edge technology. Satellites, physical barriers, screening to bar criminals and terrorists from entry, increased patrols on the border—and yes, surveillance drones—all should be part of a comprehensive plan to physically protect the border. My plan is to take specific measures at the border and then have the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's Office produce a report to Congress on the progress of border security.

My plan takes border security a step further than anybody else in Congress. Under my plan, Congress will vote every year on border security. If Congress votes that the border is not secure, elements of immigration reform will cease to go forward and visa programs will be slowed. If Congress does not think the border is secure after five years, every element of immigration reform will be stopped.

Our nation is a nation of immigrants. Throughout history, our nation has been flooded with immigrants who have moved here with a flavor for the home country, yet they have assimilated into what we know today as America. That idea, and the American Dream, must be protected and preserved.

Immigrants are drawn to the magnet of free market capitalism here in the United States. Our nation should have open arms to immigrants who want to come her and work hard to make a new life in a free nation. As a libertarian-minded senator, I am attracted to the idea of somebody coming to this country with a couple dollars in his pocket, and then through hard work, make the American Dream a reality.

I do not support amnesty, which is why I don't support our current system with no border security and a blind eye to the problem.

I support legal, not illegal, immigration. We must embrace immigration and immigrants, and we must recognize that our country has been enriched by those who seek the freedom to make better lives for themselves. However, our current system is broken, and we cannot move towards reform until our border is truly and fully secure.


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