Rand Paul: Jeb Bush 'Might Have Been More Artful' When Discussing Immigration

Says "we can't invite the whole world."


Earlier this month, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) said that many people who come to the U.S. illegally do so as "an act of love." Bush defended his comments a few days later saying, "You know, I've been saying this for the last three or four years, I said the exact same thing that I've said regularly."

In an interview that aired yesterday on ABC's This Week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that Bush "might have been more artful, maybe, in the way he presented this, but I don't want to say, 'Oh he's terrible for saying this.'"

Paul went on to say, "If it were me, what I would have said is, 'People who seek the American dream are not bad people. … However, we can't invite the whole world.' When you say they are doing an act of love and you don't follow it up with 'but we have to control the border' people think 'well because they're doing this for kind reasons that the whole world can come to our country.'"

Watch a video of Paul's comments below (immigration comments start at 1:57 mark).

Paul on Immigration

Paul mentioned border control in a June 2013 Politico op-ed while explaining why he would be voting "no" on immigration reform. From Politico:

I will be voting no on the Senate's Gang of Eight immigration bill for one simple reason: because the legislation does not secure the border first.

The American people desperately need immigration reform. Unfortunately, this legislation does not do the job.

Of paramount concern is what to do with the 12 million people currently residing in the United States who are in legal limbo. No one is seriously contemplating they leave, but conservatives believe that normalizing their status should only follow serious efforts to secure the U.S.-Mexican border. And I'm sorry to say that the Gang of Eight's proposal is just not serious.

In July 2013 Paul said that the Republican Party needs to "welcome" immigrants. From Politico:

The former Bowling Green ophthalmologist said that he could only support a reform measure that implements strict border security before – or at least simultaneous with – giving some legal status to undocumented immigrants.

"Because I am for immigration reform, because I am for finding a place in society for people, doesn't mean I have to vote for a crummy bill," Paul said. "Really a lot of conservatives who are for immigration reform, like myself, just want Congress to be in charge of deciding whether the border is secure."

Paul has frustrated some Republicans during the immigration debate by consistently arguing in favor of reform at the conceptual level, but shying away from each of the compromise proposals that came up in Senate negotiations.

He took a dismissive tone Thursday toward the final deal that his colleagues in the so-called "Gang of Eight" hammered out, which involved steep increases in funding for a list of border security enhancements. "They just kind of went crazy at the end," Paul said.

Still, Paul's pro-reform rhetoric is significant at a moment when many congressional Republicans are unsure whether they even want to try and pass a comprehensive overhaul.

Earlier this month Paul said that the Republican Party needs "to get beyond deportation" and that the future of the GOP depends on Republicans connecting with Hispanics. From Fox News Latino:

Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul told fellow Republicans on Tuesday that the future of their party depends on them connecting with Hispanics in a more empathetic way and on getting in front of immigration reform—a message that further signals his flirtation with a 2016 presidential run.

"If we are to change people's attitudes toward … the Republican Party, we have to show up and we have to have something to say," Paul told a small group of conservatives gathered at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. "I hope to be part of that dialogue."

This certainly was not the first time that Paul, since being elected to the Senate in 2010, has attempted to connect with Hispanics and other minorities.

In the last presidential election only 27 percent of Latinos who voted backed Mitt Romney. Graph from the American Enterprise Institute below:

Reason Polling on Immigration

The Reaon-Rupe Poll found last year that 53 percent of Republicans and 28 percent of Democrats believe that immigration hurts the economy:

More from Reason on immigration here

NEXT: No, We Don't Need to 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. If Rand gets nominated, he’ll be the first major party presidential candidate that gets my vote – but I disagree with him on this issue.

    I don’t see many libertarians voting for Jeb Bush ahead of Paul.

  2. For Bog’s sake, no more Bushes, please.

  3. 53% of Republicans are economically illiterate morons.

    1. Because they think inviting in millions of unskilled labourers at a time when youth unemployment is over 20% in much of the country and worse if you take into account govt fudging of the numbers.

      How does having an illegal immigrant come into your country, steal someone’s social security (they are all felons if they work somewhere that requires a SSN because they have committed social security fraud), and then work a job that someone else could have worked?

      In addition they then put their kids into public schools and suck up your tax dollars when they go into hospitals for emergencies.

      Libertarians usually say “illegal immigration is great if we get rid of the welfare state” the problem is, a democracy has NEVER gotten rid entitlements voluntarily before (Greece cut it because it was FORCED to).

      1. I meant to say, how exactly is it economically beneficial? Please tell me. Studies have proven they are a net drain on taxpayers (and that even includes the ones that leave out anchor babies’ costs).

      2. And more importantly, any libertarian who advocates for illegal immigration is basically calling for the demise of any possibility of having liberty in the future. If you want to live in a lawless hellhole like Mexico, just go there, don’t vote to turn the USA into Mexico.

        1. Mexicans consistently vote for socialism, ESPECIALLY the ones who cross the border and become illegal immigrants.

          Mexican LEGAL immigrants become Progressive democrats at a rate of 7 for every 1 that becomes a Republican and when they do become a Republican they generally are of the “catholic social conservative” strain which libertarians should also abhor.

          Basically if there is an amnesty, it will set back the GOP quite a lot, but it will set back libertarianism FAR more since it will usher in new populations that have almost zero libertarians in them.

      3. “and then work a job that someone else could have worked?”

        Ah, the zero sum game fallacy. Hence, the comment you’re replying to above.

        “steal someone’s social security; put their kids into public schools and suck up your tax dollars.”

        Here’s an idea, how bout an advocation against such organized theft and misallocation in the first place.

    2. Economics is not a true science. So pretending there is some “correct” answer that anybody could know if they only opened a freshman economics book makes that person even dumber than the supposed “illiterates” he denigrates.

  4. When us conservatives dare to state that the law should be enforced the Progressive immediately reacts in one of two ways. He states you are a racist which has no base in logic whatsoever.

    Or he gives you the “what if” scenarios.

    Here is my answer to the great tear jerk “what if.” Deportation. The consequences fall on the lawbreaker not the law abiding. If he is married and has children then they can go with him or he can leave them. He is the one who came illegally. Do we let a bank robber caught ten years later off because he is now married and has children? Nope. Any assets the illegal gained here are his problem to contend with after deportation. He broke the law and it falls on him.

    Of course that is using the word law and reason so the Progressive doesn’t like to acknowledge it. The Progressive wants to acknowledge that there should be no law if there is an emotional component. We should all cater to the lawbreaker according to the almighty Progressive.

    If we do not reverse this course our nation will fall as my fiction predicts. You cannot allow foreign invaders to gain entry illegally and then allow them to start taking benefits and voting rights. As they will support other invaders and entitlement. And then it is only a matter of time before you have a nation no more.

    Charles Hurst. Author of THE SECOND FALL. An offbeat story of Armageddon. And creator of THE RUNNINGWOLF EZINE

  5. This country had effectively open borders for most of its existence. Only in 1965 did we put significant restrictions on Mexicans moving here to work.

    The fear of open immigration leading to destruction of the US is in contradiction of all historical evidence.

    Besides, you can close the borders but you can’t stop the natives from embracing the madness of socialism, and that, ultimately is what will destroy this country.

    1. No it’s not a contradiction. What most are REALLY referring to is illegal immigrants from Mexico who are almost 10 to 1 progressive democrat voters once they gain citizenship.

      If you think the GREATEST ideological shift in the voter base of the USA in HISTORY towards socialism won’t have a negative effect you are delusional then.

      And the few mexicans who don’t become left-wingers, socialists, or communists, are usually the “bad kind” of conservatives: roman catholic conservatives who favor either a theocratic state that obeys the Pope (whom they say is Holy and infallible) or a fiscally liberal/socially conservative authoritarian state that bans contraceptives and other whacko policies.

  6. We can have open borders or a welfare state; not both.

    1. Personally, I’d prefer neither!

      A nation with no borders is not a nation at all! And a welfare state is a contradiction: it only serves to hurt the welfare of it’s people by getting them dependent!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.