WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Rand Paul said Tuesday that illegal immigrants should be allowed to become U.S. taxpayers and ultimately get a shot at citizenship, a significant step for the Tea Party favorite amid growing Republican acceptance of the idea.
“Let’s start that conversation by acknowledging we aren’t going to deport” the millions already here, the potential 2016 presidential candidate told the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Prudence, compassion and thrift all point us toward the same goal: bringing these workers out of the shadows and into becoming and being taxpaying members of society.”
It was the latest sign that the Republican Party is moving to broaden its appeal to politically influential Latinos and other ethnic minorities after significant election losses last fall. Paul spoke a day after a Republican National Committee report called on the GOP to support comprehensive reform, though without specifying whether it should include a pathway to citizenship, which is decried by some conservatives as amnesty.
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators is nearing agreement on sweeping legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration policy, an effort that could get a boost from Paul’s stance.
The Kentucky Republican said for him to support such an approach, a stronger border must come first, and Congress must agree that border security has improved. The path to citizenship he envisions would come with other conditions, too, that would make it long and difficult for illegal immigrants to travel.
Read More at OfficialWire . By Erica Werner.