In 2010, I endorsed Rand Paul for US Senate, and my Political Action Committee that supports anti-amnesty candidates contributed to and raised money for his campaign. Rand Paul's platform stated, "I do not support amnesty. Those who come here should respect our laws." He supported Arizona's SB 1070, opposed birthright citizenship, an "electronic fence" and stated, "our greatest national security threat is our lack of security at the border."
Now, I am regretting my endorsement and contribution to his campaign. Since Obama's reelection, Rand Paul has repeatedly waffled on immigration. In a speech before the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, he completely flip-flopped.
Rand Paul began his speech in Spanish and it went downhill from there. His speech was filled with virtually every single discredited pro-amnesty cliché you could imagine. He said our conversation on immigration must begin "by acknowledging we aren't going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants." He said he opposed amnesty, but then went on to promote just that arguing "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."
The problem is that not one congressman or major commentator has called for deporting all 12 million illegal immigrants. Rather, we argue that strict enforcement of employer sanctions and allowing local police to cooperate in immigration enforcement will encourage most illegals to, in Mitt Romney's words, "self-deport."
Rand Paul's speech actually came out against E-Verify, which even John McCain and Barack Obama support. That's not the only way that Paul is softer than Obama on immigration. Both Obama and the Gang of 8 say that the illegal immigrants must pay a penalty for legal status, while Rand Paul told reporters after his speech he is not "not as a big a stickler" on these items, because the illegals would not be able to afford the fines.
Rand Paul said that Hispanics were "natural" Republicans who the GOP should be able to attract through "Defense of the unborn and defense of traditional marriage." In reality, according to exit polls after the 2012 election, whites opposed gay marriage 50-47%, while Hispanics supported gay marriage 59-32%. Moreover, Hispanics are twice as likely as whites to have abortions. This, along with the fact that Hispanics are more likely to support big government and describe themselves as politically liberal than whites is a major factor for why they vote Democratic.
Instead, Rand Paul said that the only reason why the GOP is losing the Hispanic vote is because we have turned them off with "harsh rhetoric over immigration." Paul doesn't give a single example of what that "harsh rhetoric" was. Presumably it could have included his pre-flip flop position on immigration.
Rand Paul concluded his speech by quoting (in Spanish) the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Paul did not mention that Neruda served as a Senator for the Chilean Communist Party.
Rand Paul has poised himself as a GOP insurgent, but his stance on immigration is in line with the usual Democratic and RINO establishment. It's not surprising that Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer both praised Rand Paul's speech. I doubt the grassroots conservatives who elected Rand to Senate and whose support he expects if he runs for president in 2016 feel the same.
When I endorsed Rand Paul, I did not expect to agree with him on every issue. I respect people with strongly held beliefs regardless of what they are. Most importantly, I felt that I could trust him to maintain his campaign promises. I was wrong. Oh how I long for a Republican leader who exhibits true courage and integrity. That's the stuff leaders are made of. By endorsing the McCain-Obama immigration policy when it became politically expedient, Rand Paul has shown himself to be just another politician.