In a speech on Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) outlined his views on immigration reform. Acknowledging the need for some legalization process for the 12 million illegal immigrants already here, Paul stressed that border security had to come first. Under Paul’s plan, legalization wouldn’t even be considered by Congress until the border was secured. This contrasts sharply with the approach outlined this week by Sen. Rubio, who said legalization had to come first.
Paul’s plan would direct the Border Patrol and an Inspector General to certify to Congress when the border is secure. To verify that the border is secure, the report would have to be approved by Congress. Once that is accomplished, currently illegal immigrants could apply for probationary work visas.
This process of legalization, however, wouldn’t happen all at once for the 12 million illegal immigrants. Each year, a bi-partisan panel would determine the number of work visas available. Congress would also have to annually review and re-certify that the border remained secure.
The plan outlined by Paul made no mention of a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants. The implication is that those who broke the law to enter the country will be able to legally live and work here, but not have the opportunity to become citizens.
In keeping with Paul’s libertarian tendencies, his plan specifically eschews a National ID or E-Verify system, where citizens have to prove they are legally eligible to work.
We are not going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to live in a country that had the ability to deport 12 million people. The plan Paul outlined is simple, and probably in-line with the overwhelming majority of the public. Secure the border first. Then, we can talk.