Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is expected announce his support for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship in a speech Tuesday morning.
On the heels of the Republican National Committee’s post-election autopsy report, which encouraged Republicans to support broad immigration law changes, Paul is expected to say that party members need to embrace reform or deal with being out of political power for decades.
“Republicans need to become parents of a new future with Latino voters or we will need to resign ourselves to permanent minority status,” Paul said according to excerpts from the speech. “The Republican Party has insisted for years that we stand for freedom and family values. I am most proud of my party when it stands for both.”
Paul is also expected to call for providing a path to citizenship, which he also called for after the election. However, excerpts obtained by CQ Roll Call did not include any direct endorsement.
“Our land should be one of assimilation, not hiding in the shadows,” was as far as the excerpts went in that regard.
Paul will make the case for why Republicans should support tackling the issue, including mutual support for traditional family values, according to the excerpts.
“Defense of the unborn and defense of traditional marriage are Republican issues that should resonate with Latinos but have been obscured by the misperception that Republicans are hostile to immigrants,” Paul said.
The RNC released its own autopsy of the 2012 election on Monday. It was designed to reinvigorate and refocus the GOP after losing both the presidency and the chance to retake the Senate majority in 2012. The report urged the GOP to “embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform” or it would fail to be competitive in future elections.
“Hispanics should be a natural and sizable part of the Republican base,” Paul continued. “That they have steadily drifted away from the GOP in each election says more about Republicans than it does Hispanics.”
A strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit is also a characteristic prized by both Latinos and Republicans, Paul will argue.
“America’s strength has always been that we are a melting pot with room for those who dare to dream,” Paul said. “I’ve seen firsthand what it is like for new immigrants in Texas. I’ve never met a new immigrant looking for a free lunch. The question is: How do we now reflect this in our 21st century immigration policy?”
In a nod to his assessment at the recent American Conservatives Union’s CPAC conference last week that some Republicans have become “stale and moss-covered,” so has the immigration debate he will say.
“Unfortunately, like many of the major debates in Washington, immigration has become a stalemate — where both sides are imprisoned by their own rhetoric or attachment to sacred cows that prevent the possibility of a balanced solution,” Paul said.
“In order to bring conservatives to this cause, however, those who work for reform must understand that a real solution must ensure that our borders are secure,” he continued. “It must modernize our immigration controls and databases. It must allow for as much legal immigration as our workforce requires. And it must treat those who are already here with understanding and compassion — without also unduly rewarding them for coming illegally.”
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