Rand Paul Takes on AP for Labeling Immigration Plan 'Path to Citizenship'

Rand Paul Takes on AP for Labeling Immigration Plan 'Path to Citizenship'

The Associated Press initially depicted Sen. Rand Paul’s speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday as one promoting a path to citizenship, though Paul did not mention that in his speech.

Later on in the day, Paul made comments indicating he is in support of a “path to citizenship” so long as it is not called a “path to citizenship.” But that clarification was not known when the Associated Press published its original story on Tuesday afternoon after Paul’s address. 

The headline for the original story Associated Press story read, “Rand Paul endorses immigrant Path to citizenship.” And the first paragraph in the story read, “Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is telling a Hispanic business group that illegal immigrants should be allowed to become U.S. taxpayers and ultimately get a shot at citizenship.”

The headline has since been changed to “Rand Paul: Immigration Reform Needs Conservatives.” 

And the first paragraph in the Associated Press story has since been changed to, “Tea party favorite Sen. Rand Paul said Tuesday that the nation’s illegal immigrants should be able to become citizens eventually, but amid a furor from conservative activists on the explosive issue he quickly sought to make clear that, while they would not be sent home, they couldn’t get in line in front of anyone else.”

But the original story–and the headline–is still preserved on the websites of some of the country’s most prominent papers, especially since more papers are relying on wire services for content as they cut back on staff outside of their regions. 

During his speech on Tuesday, Paul said, “immigration reform will not occur until conservative Republicans, like myself, become part of the solution. I am here today to begin that conversation.”

“Let’s start that conversation by acknowledging we aren’t going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants,” Paul said. “If you wish to work, if you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you.”

On his website, Paul says he does not support amnesty. He said he did not support “amnesty” in his speech. 

But as Twitchy noted, though, Paul later said that if he referred to giving illegal immigrants citizenship (amnesty) as putting them on a “path to citizenship,” people would “close their ears.” 

To further clarify his position, Paul went on CNN on Tuesday and said illegal immigrants would have to go to the back of the current line and all that he was saying was that they do not have to go back home. 

“It doesn’t get you in a green card line. It gets you in a line to enter the country legally to become a citizen like everybody else who wants to come from around the world to be a citizen,” Paul said.  

In essence, Paul then said his plan would require that Congress vote on whether the U.S.-Mexico border was secure before permitting any type of legalization program. 

Paul’s immigration ideas may be evolving. He said–on conference calls and in interviews after his speech–that he would not stand in the way of allowing illegal immigrants a chance to get citizenship even though he would not refer to it specifically as a “pathway to citizenship” as well. But all that was not known–or verified–when the Associated Press decided to publish its initial story and headline, which got picked up by nearly every outlet.