Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said he believes some type of amnesty legislation could pass this year.
Appearing at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, Paul again said that he voted against the Senate’s immigration bill because there were not enough visas for construction and farm workers and said he still thought “something could be passed this year” on immigration. Legislation has stalled after Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) blasted the House GOP leadership’s “immigration principles” as amnesty.
Paul then told the Harvard students that about 40% of illegal immigrants came to the country legally. Though many of these now illegal immigrants have overstayed their visas, Paul claimed that most of these illegal immigrants simply just got new jobs. He has also previously said that these illegal immigrants simply lost their documents.
The Congressional Budget Office has determined that the Senate’s immigration bill would lower the wages of Americans workers, and Paul said he was against restrictions on visas that prevented immigrants from working in other fields. Paul, who is reportedly courting wealthy libertarian donors for a potential 2016 presidential bid, has been speaking up in favor of more visas and various forms of amnesty for country’s illegal immigrants.
Earlier this week at the University of Chicago’s Institute for Politics, Paul backed work visas for all of the country’s illegal immigrants and said they should not be forced to leave the country when applying for citizenship. The day after his remarks, in a sign that Republicans may not win over Hispanics just by passing immigration reform, Latino leaders in Wisconsin promptly slammed him as being “offensive.”
Paul was introduced by Trey Grayson, the director of the Institute, whom he defeated in 2010. Grayson, who was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) chosen candidate in the 2010 Kentucky Republican Senate primary, was participating in his last event as the Institute’s director.