Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) believes the country’s illegal immigrants should be given work visas and be allowed to remain in the United States.
The potential 2016 presidential contender spoke at the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago on Tuesday and told David Axelrod, President Barack Obama’s former top adviser who now heads the institute, that he did not vote for the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill. He did not do so because it did not grant enough work visas in the agricultural and construction industries. The Congressional Budget Office determined that bill would lower the wages of American workers.
When Axelrod asked him what he would do with the country’s illegal immigrants, Paul said, “I’d expand the work visa program to include them.”
In addition to his support for this form of amnesty, Paul said he was for “allowing a lot of immigration” but realized that the United States could not “invite the whole world.” He noted that “700 million people would come” if America had open borders.
Paul said illegal immigrants who may be given an opportunity to get citizenship or legalization should not have to return to their home countries. He also said anyone with a work visa should be given an opportunity to apply for legalization or citizenship and go to the end of the line while being allowed to stay in the United States. Work visas need to be expanded so illegal immigrants could “come out of the shadows,” Paul stated.
Paul did say that the border had to be secured first and that any immigration bill that Congress passes should have a provision where Congress votes each year on whether the border is sufficiently secure and various metrics have been met.
President Barack Obama has given temporary work visas to some illegal immigrants who came to the country before they were 16 years of age, are under 30, and meet various requirements.
Paul made his remarks on the day The New York Times released a report that found that America’s middle class is no longer the world’s wealthiest.
In response to that report, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said politicians should not enact policies that would “hollow out” the middle class; instead, they should find solutions that rescue working Americans.