Whether or not you admire the bold individualistic leadership of Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on other issues, I know you will be disappointed and maybe even shocked by the immigration platform he outlined this morning before the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
KEY POINTS OF THE RAND PAUL AMNESTY
- The 11-19 million illegal aliens would get to live permanently in the United States.
- One year after passing the amnesty, illegal aliens can start getting work permits to compete directly in the legal job market with Americans.
- New illegal aliens who are enticed by the amnesty will continue to have a relatively open access to U.S. jobs because Sen. Paul opposes mandatory E-Verify and other means to keep employers from hiring illegal aliens.
- Sen. Paul will force American workers to compete with far more new legal immigrant workers in the future.
Nowhere in his long speech did Sen. Paul indicate any concern for the 20 million Americans who can't find a full-time job or for the taxpayers who have to support them in myriad ways while 26 million legal and illegal foreign-born workers hold U.S. jobs.
Instead, Sen. Paul emphasized the need for even more foreign workers as if there can never be a downside of too much immigration. He called for a:
. . . dialogue that shows that the GOP sees all immigrants as assets. . . . The Republican Party must embrace more legal immigration.
Nonetheless, Rand Paul outlined his amnesty with enough ambiguity to give some hope that Kentuckians can rescue him -- and the country -- from disastrous leadership on this issue.
WHAT ABOUT CITIZENSHIP FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS?
An AP story before the speech stated that Sen. Paul was endorsing a path to citizenship. This has spawned a lot of erroneous stories and tweets on the internet.
But Paul said nothing about citizenship in his speech. Rather, it looks like he is proposing a permanent-residency amnesty and work-permit amnesty but not a citizenship amnesty. That is more than enough amnesty to be truly harmful, but it is interesting that Paul is differing with Pres. Obama and the Senate Gang of Eight on the citizenship point.
WHEN DOES JOBS-AMNESTY KICK IN?
Sen. Paul leaves no doubt that he wants all the illegal aliens to be competing with Americans equally in the jobs market. But he proposes a phase-in system that he describes in very general terms.
You can read for yourself what his prepared text said:
The first part of my plan - border security - must be certified by Border Patrol and an Investigator General and then voted on by Congress to ensure it has been accomplished.
This is what I call, Trust but Verify.
With this in place, I believe conservatives will accept what needs to come next, an issue that must be addressed: what becomes of the 12 million undocumented workers in the United States?
My plan is very simple and will include work visas for those who are here, who are willing to come forward and work.
A bipartisan panel would determine number of visas per year.
There is a lot there that needs to be explored
OPPOSING E-VERIFY TO KEEP ILLEGAL ALIENS OUT OF JOBS
In one way, Rand Paul's plan is far more radical and pro-illegal-immigration than anything proposed by Pres. Obama or the Gang of Eight, both of whom are at least promising workplace verification to cut off the jobs magnet that has created the giant illegal-alien population in the first place.
My plan . . . will also not have mandatory E-Verify. I don't mind if there's E-Verify, maybe related to the tax code somehow, but I don't like the idea of making every business owner a policeman.
How radical is this idea of not having business owners responsible for avoiding hiring illegal aliens? Well, business responsibility was about the only thing that was given in return for the first (and supposedly last) amnesty in 1986. Sen. Paul today seemed to say that the only thing that should stand from the 1986 compromise was the amnesty itself.
BACK OF THE LINE? NOT AN AMNESTY?
Like Pres. Obama, Sen. Paul makes two highly questionable assertions about his plan:
My plan will not grant amnesty or move anyone to the front of the line.
In fact, his plan does both.
Rand Paul and Barack Obama claim they don't support amnesty because they define amnesty differently than most of us. They contend that if illegal aliens pay a fine it isn't amnesty to give them the lifelong residency and jobs they broke immigration laws to steal.
Of course, one of the last things citizens should do is allow their politicians to define away words that are inconvenient to them. Nobody who cares about the rule of law and an immigration system that serves the American people would call the Paul plan anything but an "amnesty," although it is not as generous of an amnesty as Pres. Obama and the Gang of Eight are proposing.
The "front of the line" line in some ways is even more maddening because it pretends that only future legal immigrants matter and that current unemployed Americans don't count at all.
Sen. Paul and Pres. Obama say that the illegal aliens should not get citizenship before the foreign citizens who are waiting in a backlog line to get immigration status. So, they each have provisions that delay how fast the illegal aliens get a green card that puts them on a path to citizenship.
But what about the unemployment lines for millions of Americans -- 20 million who can't find a full-time job?
Sen. Paul and Pres. Obama basically put the illegal aliens at the FRONT of the line.
Obama would give illegal aliens work permits almost immediately. Paul seems to say he would make them wait a year.
Why do I say the illegal aliens would be in the front of the line just because they get work permits? Because most of them already have jobs. Obama and Paul would be giving them the legal permits to continue holding the jobs that they have already taken from Americans.
Many otherwise intelligent people have the idea that illegal aliens take jobs that Americans don't want.
But fewer than 5% are in agriculture, for example. The rest of the illegal workers are in jobs in which the majority of workers are U.S. citizens. In other words, those are clearly jobs Americans WILL do and ARE doing.
There are more than twice as many less-educated Americans looking for jobs in construction, manufacturing and service where the 7 million illegal aliens already have jobs.
That apparently is just fine with Rand Paul and all the other supporters of amnesty.
Is it fine with the citizens of Kentucky?
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA