Does Rand Paul really back a ‘path to citizenship’? Update: Looks that way!/EWErickson/status/314010536046120962

On Monday, the Associated Press and BuzzFeed reported that Sen. Rand Paul would embrace a “path to citizenship” in his speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Tea Party favorite Rand Paul backs path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, with conditions: – VW

— The Associated Press (@AP) March 19, 2013

The title of BuzzFeed’s post: “Rand Paul will support a path to citizenship.”


Some Twitter users indicated “path to citizenship” was in quotes in BuzzFeed’s title before the inaccuracy was brought to the site’s attention. An itsy bitsy problem there:

Words that weren’t directly in Paul’s speech: “Pathway to citizenship.”

— Kevin Robillard (@PoliticoKevin) March 19, 2013

The Washington Examiner’s Conn Carroll also notes that a “path to citizenship” wasn’t mentioned in Paul’s speech.

hearing from #TeamPaul that the AP story is incorrect. he never specifically endorses a “path to citizenship” …waiting for full speech now

— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) March 19, 2013

I have just finished the Rand Paul immigration speech. The AP and @buzzfeed @dcbigjohn are just 100% false. He does not endorse citizenship

— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) March 19, 2013

@dcbigjohn really needs to correct his false story on today’s Rand Paul speech. He does not endorse a path to citizenship cc @buzzfeedben

— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) March 19, 2013

@dcbigjohn show me where Paul says “citizenship” … its kind of a big distinction. cc @buzzfeedben

— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) March 19, 2013

@dcbigjohn @buzzfeedbena pathway to what? whether its citizenship or legal residency is kinda a big deal.

— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) March 19, 2013

While the government should try enforcing existing laws before playing the amnesty game, as Carroll noted in January, there’s a difference between a path to citizenship and permanent noncitizen resident status.

@buzzfeedben @dcbigjohn what evidence do you have that he is endorsing citizenship?

— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) March 19, 2013

@buzzfeedben @dcbigjohn you have “pathway to citizenship” in quotes in your title. he never says that. your headline is, at best, misleading

— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) March 19, 2013

@buzzfeedben also, asked if he supports a path to citizenship, Paul’s staff tells me he is not. @dcbigjohn may want to follow up on that.

— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) March 19, 2013

@sarosado what is your evidence Paul’s plan offers citizenship?

— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) March 19, 2013

@sarosado do you have a link for that or are you just making stuff up?

— Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) March 19, 2013

So, Paul’s staffers deny that he endorses a pathway to citizenship and his speech didn’t mention such a pathway. Here’s a link to the full speech:

Is Sen Rand Paul R-KY actually endorsing a path to citizenship today?You read his speech

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 19, 2013

RedState’s Erick Erickson says he spoke with Paul and the AP and BuzzFeed were wrong.

Erica Werner of the Associated Press Reads More Into Rand Paul’s Speech Than is There… via @ewerickson

— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) March 19, 2013

I talked to Rand Paul about his speech and how the media is characterizing… via @ewerickson

— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) March 19, 2013

But then there’s this:

Following speech @senrandpaul said he would back system where once undocumenteds had work visa they could get in back of citizenship line

— john r stanton (@dcbigjohn) March 19, 2013

And this:

Hey folks claiming Rand Paul didn’t endorse a path to citizenship: Byron York was told he does by top aides:…

— Samuel (@SARosado) March 19, 2013

And this:

Finally, I applaud and appreciate @senrandpaul support for a path to citizenship. This is an important piece of immigration reform.

— Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog) March 19, 2013

And here’s what Paul said in November:

“I want to show what conservatives would or can accept,” he said in describing his plan. “If we assimilate those who are here, however they got here — don’t make it an easy path for citizenship. There would be an eventual path, but we don’t make anybody tomorrow a citizen who came here illegally. But if they’re willing to work, willing to pay taxes, I think we need to normalize those who are here.”

Paul said the “trade-off” would be “not to accept any new legal immigrants while we’re assimilating the ones who are here.” Asked if he is concerned about the ripple effect that could cause around the world, Paul said the details over which countries would be affected are still in the works.

[email protected]senrandpaul: “I do not support amnesty, I support legal immigration.”

— Steven J. Duffield (@StevenJDuffield) March 19, 2013

Here’s what Paul’s website currently states about immigration:

I do not support amnesty, I support legal immigration and recognize that the country has been enriched by those who seek the freedom to make a life for themselves. However, millions of illegal immigrants are crossing our border without our knowledge and causing a clear threat to our national security. I want to work in the Senate to secure our border immediately. In addition, I support the creation of a border fence and increased border patrol capabilities.

Immigrants should meet the current requirements, which should be enforced and updated. I realize that subsidizing something creates more of it, and do not think the taxpayer should be forced to pay for welfare, medical care and other expenses for illegal immigrants. Once the subsidies for illegal immigration are removed, the problem will likely become far less common.

I support local solutions to illegal immigration as protected by the 10th amendment. I support making English the official language of all documents and contracts.

Millions crossing our border without our knowledge constitutes a clear threat to our nation’s security. Instead of closing military bases at home and renting space in Europe, I am open to the construction of bases to protect our border.

Paul needs to make a statement to clarify his stance immediately.


Paul Says He’s Open to Voting for Path to Citizenship via @hsanchez128

— Roll Call (@rollcall) March 19, 2013

Without using the phrase, Paul appeared to confirm to reporters that he does support a path to citizenship after a probationary period.

“You have an option to get in the line, and you get a work visa if you want to work,” Paul said when asked if he supports a path to citizenship.

Paul rejected the idea of deporting undocumented immigrants or immediately giving them citizenship. Instead, he argued for a probationary status.

“The solution doesn’t have to be amnesty or deportation — a middle ground might be called probation where those who came illegally become legal through a probationary period,” Paul said.

Paul also said his team is in talks with the Gang of 8, but it isn’t the “gang of eight plus one” … yet.

Byron York notes that Paul’s plan calls for border security, verified by Congress in an annual vote, before any path to citizenship is on the table.

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