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Ron Paul on Immigration

Republican Representative (TX-14); previously Libertarian for President


Incentives like benefits create illegal alien problem

PERRY: [to Paul]: I think it's time for a 21st century Monroe Doctrine. We know that Hamas and Hezbollah are working in Mexico. As the President , I will promise you one thing, that border will be shut down, and it will be secure.

PAUL: Yes, we do have a national responsibility for our borders. We need better immigration services, obviously. But if you subsidize something or give people incentives, you get more of it. So if you give easy road to citizenship, you're going to have more illegals. If you have a weak economy, which is understandable and we should have prevented, that's understandable. But mandating to the states that we have to provide free medical care and free education, that's a great burden to all the border states. So I would say eliminate all these benefits and talk about eliminating the welfare state because it's detrimental not only to here but the people that come because that's the incentive to bring their families with them.

Source: 2011 CNN National Security GOP primary debate , Nov 22, 2011

Data banks for illegal aliens keep track of us too

Q: You commented a couple of weeks ago about a border fence with Mexico, saying, "There's capital controls and there's people control. So every time you think of a fence keeping all those bad people out, think about those fences maybe being used against us, keeping us in." Do you know a lot of Americans who want to take their money and flee the US?

PAUL: There are some. All the candidates up here talk about repatriation of dollars. They've already taken them overseas. We're talking about trying to bring in $1.5 trillion because they leave our country, because we make it uncomfortable, too many regulations, too much taxation. When countries destroy a currency, they do lead to capital controls and they lead to people control. And, also, once you have these data banks, everybody is going to be in the data bank. You say, oh, no, the data bank's there for the illegals. But everybody's in the data bank. [Same on] the national ID card: if you care about your personal liberty, you'll be cautious.

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

Pay attention to US borders, not international borders

Q: Why are you opposed to a system that requires employers to verify the immigration status of their workers?

A: I don't like putting the burden on our businessmen to be the policemen. That means he has to be policing activity. But I have a strong position on immigration. I don't think that we should give amnesty and they become voters. But I do think we should deal with our borders. One way that I would suggest that we could do it is pay less attention to the borders between Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan and bring our troops home and deal with the border. But why do we pay more attention to the borders overseas and less attention to the borders here at home? We now have a mess on the borders, and it has a lot more to do with it than just immigration, because we're financing some of this militarism against the drug dealers on the borders right now to the tune of over $1 billion. And there is a mess down there, but it's much bigger than just the immigration problem.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

Let churches provide services for immigrants, not state

Q: [to Santorum] How would you prevent illegal immigrants from using our health care, educational, or welfare systems?

SANTORUM: We should not be offering to people--particularly those who broke the law to come here or overstayed their visa--we should not be offering government benefits.

Q: [to Paul]: But should taxpayers have to pay for that care?

PAUL: No, they should not be forced to. But you know, there was a time when we didn't depend on government for everything. There was a time when the Catholic Church actually looked after immigrants. We shouldn't be penalizing the Catholic Church, because they're trying to fulfill a role. And some of the anti-immigrants want to come down hard on the Catholic Church, and that is wrong. Freedom has solved these kind of problems before. You don't have to say, oh, there won't be any care and everybody is going to die on the streets without medical care. That's the implication of the question. That's just not true, and you shouldn't accept it.

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH , Jun 13, 2011

Give illegals limbo status: a green card with an asterisk

Immigrants who can't be sent back due to the magnitude of the problem should not be given citizenship--no amnesty should be granted. Maybe a "green card" with an asterisk could be issued. This in-between status, keeping illegal immigrants in limbo, will be said that it will create a class of 2nd-class citizens. Yet it could be argued that it may well allow some immigrants who come here illegally a beneficial status without automatic citizenship--a much better option than deportation.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p.156 , Apr 19, 2011

Sending 12M illegals home won't & shouldn't happen

Even with a healthy economy and stricter border controls, the issue of what to do with twelve-million-plus illegals already here would persist. One side says use the U.S. Army, round them up, and ship them home. The other side says give them amnesty, make them full-fledged citizens, and reward the lawbreakers, thus insulting and unfairly penalizing those who have patiently waited and obeyed our immigration laws. The first choice--sending twelve to fifteen million illegals home--isn't going to happen and should not happen. Neither the determination or the ability to accomplish it exists. Besides, if each case is looked at separately, we would find ourselves splitting up families and deporting some who have lived here for decades, if not their entire life, and who never lived for any length of time in Mexico.
Source: Liberty Defined, by Rep. Ron Paul, p.153 , Apr 19, 2011

If economy were good, there’d be no immigration problem

Q: When you ran for president in 1988, you said, “As in our country’s first 150 years, there shouldn’t be any immigration policy at all. We should welcome everyone who wants to come here and work.” You’ve changed your view.

A: And during that campaign I got into trouble with Libertarians because I said there may well be a time when immigration is like an invasion and we have to treat it differently. My approach to immigration is somewhat different than the others. Mine is you deal with it economically We’re in worse shape now because we subsidize immigration. We give food stamps, Social Security, free medical care, free education and amnesty. So you subsidize it, and you have a mess. Conditions have changed. And I think this means that we should look at immigration differently. It’s an economic issue more than anything. If our economy was in good health, I don’t think there’d be an immigration problem. We’d be looking for workers and we would be very generous.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 23, 2007

Amend Constitution to remove aliens’ birthright citizenship

Q: You say you’re a strict constructionist of the Constitution, and yet you want to amend the Constitution to say that children born here should not automatically be US citizens.

A: Well, amending the Constitution is constitutional. What’s the contradiction there?

Q: So in the Constitution as written, you want to amend?

A: Well, that’s constitutional, to do it. Besides, it was the 14th Amendment. It wasn’t in the original Constitution. And there’s confusion on interpretation. In the early years, it was never interpreted that way, and it’s still confusing because individuals are supposed to have birthright citizenship if they’re under the jurisdiction of the government. And somebody who illegally comes in this country as a drug dealer, is he under the jurisdiction and their children deserve citizenship? I think it’s awfully, awfully confusing, and, matter of fact, I have a bill to change that as well as a Constitutional amendment to clarify it.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , Dec 23, 2007

Those who attack bilingualism are jealous & feel inferior

Q: Do you think that there would be a practical value of making English our official language?

A: Well, it’s practical because we can all understand each other. I sometimes think that those who attack bilingualism sometimes are jealous, & we feel inferior, because we’re not capable. But we should have one language. But we, as federal officials, as a congressman or a president, we only have authority over the federal government. So I think all federal things should be in English. But when it comes to bilingualism in schools or the states, under our Constitution, it really is permissible. And the states can decide that. But under the conditions that we have today, I think it is good and proper to have one language, which would be English, for all legal matters at the national level. But this doesn’t preclude bilingualism in private use or in education or in local government.

Source: 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision , Dec 9, 2007

No amnesty, but impractical to round up 12 million illegals

Q: Is it even practical to try to send 12 million illegal immigrants all home?

A: I would not sign a bill like [comprehensive immigration reform], because it would be amnesty. I also think that it’s pretty impractical to get an army in this country to round up 12 or maybe 20 million. But I do believe that we have to stick to our guns on obeying the law, and anybody who comes in here illegally shouldn’t be rewarded. And that would be the case.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University , Sep 27, 2007

Immigration problem is consequence of welfare state

I see the immigration problem as a consequence of our welfare state. We encourage people not to work here, but the welfare we offer the people who come--they get free medical care. They get free education. They bankrupt our hospitals. Our hospitals are closing. And it shouldn’t be rewarded. That means you don’t give them citizenship. You can’t solve this problem until you get rid of the welfare state, because in a healthy economy, immigrants wouldn’t be a threat to us.
Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University , Sep 27, 2007

No amnesty, but border fence isn’t so important

Q: You voted to support that 700-mile fence along the border with Mexico. Is there a need for a similar fence along the border with Canada?

PAUL: No. The fence was my weakest reason for voting for that, but enforcing the law was important, and border security is important. And we’ve talked about amnesty, which I’m positively opposed to. If you subsidize something, you get more of it. We subsidize illegal immigration, we reward it by easy citizenship, either birthright or amnesty.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

We subsidize illegal immigration, so we get more

If you subsidize something, you get more of it. We subsidize illegal immigration, we reward it by easy citizenship, either birthright or amnesty. But we force our states and our local communities to pay for the health care and pay for the education. Why wouldn’t they bring their families? And because of our economic conditions, we do need workers. But if we had a truly free market economy, the illegal immigrants would not be the scapegoat. We would probably need them and they would be acceptable.
Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

Keep rule barring immigrants from running for president

Q: Should we change our Constitution to allow men like Mel Martinez, born in Cuba, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, born in Austria, to stand here some night as candidates for president?

PAUL: I’m a no, because I am a strong supporter of the original intent

GIULIANI: When he called me up to endorse him, he got me on the phone, he said, “Will you endorse me?”, and I was too afraid to say no. I would say yes.

TANCREDO: Intimidating as he might be, I’m saying no.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC , May 3, 2007

End all incentives and amnesty for illegal immigrants

We haven’t talked about the economics of illegal immigration. You can’t solve this problem as long as you have a runaway welfare state & excessive spending & the wiping out of the middle class through inflation, because that’s what directs the hostility, is people are hurting. When we have all these mandates on hospitals and on schools. There’s an incentive for a lot of our people not to work, because they can get welfare. Then there’s a lot of incentive because they know they’re going to get amnesty. We gave it to the illegals in the ‘80s. Then, we put mandates on the states to compel them to have medical care. And you say, well, that’s compassionate. What happens if the hospital closes and then the people here in this country don’t get medical care? So you can’t divorce it from the economics. You’ve got to get rid of the incentives. No amnesty. No forced benefits. It just won’t work if you try to see this in a vacuum. You have to deal with it as a whole, as an economic issue as well.
Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Republican primary debate , Jan 5, 2006

Voted YES on building a fence along the Mexican border.

Within 18 months, achieves operational control over U.S. land and maritime borders, including:
  1. systematic border surveillance through more effective use of personnel and technology; and
  2. physical infrastructure enhancements to prevent unlawful border entry
Defines "operational control" as the prevention of all unlawful U.S. entries, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, narcotics, and other contraband.

Proponents support voting YES because:

It is obvious there is no more defining issue in our Nation today than stopping illegal immigration. The most basic obligation of any government is to secure the Nation's borders. One issue in which there appears to be a consensus between the Senate and the House is on the issue of building a secure fence. So rather than wait until comprehensive legislation is enacted, we should move forward on targeted legislation which is effective and meaningful. The legislation today provides over 700 miles of two-layered reinforced fencing, and for the rest of the border provides a virtual fence, via integrated surveillance technology.

Opponents support voting NO because:

Just to build the fence is going to cost us at least $7 billion. Where is the money coming from to pay for it? How much is it going to cost to maintain this 700-mile fence? Who is going to do it? This bill contains no funding.

This bill also ignores real enforcement measures, like hiring more Border Patrol personnel, and instead builds a Berlin Wall on our southern border. So long as employers need workers in this country, and while our immigration systems impede rather than facilitate timely access of willing workers to those opportunities, undocumented immigration will never be controlled.

Walls, barriers, and military patrols will only force those immigrants to utilize ever more dangerous routes and increase the number of people who die in search of an opportunity to feed and clothe their families.

Reference: Secure Fence Act; Bill H R 6061 ; vote number 2006-446 on Sep 14, 2006

Voted YES on preventing tipping off Mexicans about Minuteman Project.

Voting YES on this amendment supports the Minuteman Project, a group of volunteers who have taken on surveillance of the Mexican border for illegal immigrants. The amendment states that US funds will not be used to tell the Mexican government about the whereabouts of the Minuteman Project volunteers. Proponents of the Minuteman Project say that they are volunteer citizens doing what the federal government SHOULD be doing, but has failed to do. Opponents of the Minuteman Project say that they are vigilantes at best and anti-Mexican racists at worst. The amendment states:
None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to provide a foreign government information relating to the activities of an organized volunteer civilian action group, operating in the State of California, Texas, New Mexico, or Arizona, unless required by international treaty.
Reference: Department of Homeland Security appropriations; Bill HR 5441 Amendment 968 ; vote number 2006-224 on Jun 6, 2006

Voted YES on reporting illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment.

Vote to pass the bill that would require hospitals to gather and report information on possible illegal aliens before hospitals can be reimbursed for treating them. The bill would also make employers liable for the reimbursements if an undocumented employee seeks medical attention, unless the employer meets particular conditions for exemption. The bill would specify that hospitals aren't required to provide care to undocumented aliens if they can be transported to their home country without a significant chance of worsening their condition.
Reference: Undocumented Alien Emergency Medical Assistance Amendments; Bill HR 3722 ; vote number 2004-182 on May 20, 2004

Voted YES on extending Immigrant Residency rules.

Vote on motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill that would extend by four months a law allowing some immigrants to remain in the country while pursuing legal residency.
Reference: Motion sponsoerd by Gekas, R-PA; Bill HR1885 ; vote number 2001-127 on May 21, 2001

Voted YES on more immigrant visas for skilled workers.

Vote to pass a bill to increase the number of temporary visas granted to highly skilled workers from 65,000 to 115,000 by the year 2000.
Reference: Bill introduced by Smith, R-TX.; Bill HR 3736 ; vote number 1998-460 on Sep 24, 1998

Sponsored bill banning student visas from terrorist nations.

Paul sponsored against student visas from countries that support terrorism

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To limit the issuance of student and diversity immigrant visas to aliens who are nationals of Saudi Arabia, countries that support terrorism, or countries not cooperating fully with United States antiterrorism efforts.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Rep. PAUL: The US remains vulnerable to terrorist attacks more than a year after the tragedy of 9/11. Our borders remain porous--a virtual revolving door and welcome mat for those who would seek to harm us. This was never more evident than when news broke some time ago that the INS had actually renewed the visas for several of the 9/11 hijackers after the attack had taken place. We cannot prevent terrorism if we cannot keep terrorists out of our country.

This bill will deny student and "diversity" visas to anyone coming from a country currently on the State Department's list of terrorism-sponsoring countries. It may seem shocking that citizens from these countries can even still receive these visas, but it is true. We must put a lock on this revolving door if we are going to protect Americans from the continuing threat of terrorism on our soil.

Further, it is time we face reality regarding Saudi Arabia. We must remember that most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals. Also, when al-Qaeda supporters were rounded up from Afghanistan, reports showed that of the 158 prisoners, more than 100 were Saudi nationals. With such an evident level of involvement from Saudi nationals in these activities, it is quite obvious that the Saudi government is not doing all it can, or all it should, in resolving this urgent problem. Therefore, Saudi citizens will also be denied student and "diversity" visas to the United States under this bill.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to House Subcommittee on Immigration & Border Security; never came to a vote.

Source: Terror Immigration Elimination Act (H.R.488) 03-HR0488 on Jan 29, 2003

Rated 100% by FAIR, indicating a voting record restricting immigration.

Paul scores 100% by FAIR on immigration issues

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a national, non-profit, public interest membership organization of concerned citizens united by their belief in the need for immigration reform. Founded in 1979, FAIR believes that the U.S. can and must have an immigration policy that is non-discriminatory and designed to serve the environmental, economic, and social needs of our country.

FAIR seeks to improve border security, to stop illegal immigration, and to promote immigration levels consistent with the national interest—more traditional rates of about 300,000 a year.

With more than 70,000 members nationwide, FAIR is a non-partisan group whose membership runs the gamut from liberal to conservative.

The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: FAIR website 03n-FAIR on Dec 31, 2003

Rated 83% by USBC, indicating a sealed-border stance.

Paul scores 83% by USBC on immigration issues

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 USBC scores as follows:

About USBC (from their website, www.usbc.org):

U.S. Border Control, founded in 1988, is a non-profit, tax-exempt, citizen's lobby. USBC is dedicated to ending illegal immigration by securing our nation's borders and reforming our immigration policies. USBC [works with] Congressmen to stop amnesty; seal our borders against terrorism and illegal immigration; and, preserve our nation's language, culture and American way of life for future generations.

Our organization accepts no financial support from any branch of government. All our support comes from concerned citizens who appreciate the work we are doing to seal our borders against drugs, disease, illegal migration and terrorism and wish to preserve our nation's language, culture and heritage for the next generations.

Source: USBC website 06n-USBC on Dec 31, 2006

Government services in English only.

Paul co-sponsored bill requiring government services in English only

A bill to provide that Executive Order 13166 shall have no force or effect, and to prohibit the use of funds for certain purposes.

Be it enacted that Executive Order 13166, 'Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency' (August 16, 2000), is null and void and shall have no force or effect.

On August 11, 2000, the President signed Executive Order 13166. The Executive Order requires Federal agencies to examine the services they provide, identify any need for services to those with limited English proficiency (LEP), and develop and implement a system to provide those services so LEP persons can have meaningful access to them.

Source: S.2719/H.R.768 08-S2719 on Mar 5, 2008

Rated C by the ALI, indicating an acceptably anti-amnesty stance.

Paul scores C by ALIPAC, Americans for Legal Immigration

ALIPAC supporters have a diverse range of opinions, yet we are united in the belief that more should be done to reduce illegal immigration. ALIPAC supports those that legally immigrate, but we DO NOT support any amnesty, visa expansion, or "Guest Worker" program designed to reward illegal aliens or legalize their presence in the US. We support a peaceful, non racist, rule of law approach to resolving illegal immigration. America is a land of generous and caring people, but our hospitality and values are being strained and abused by those who are willing to break the law and take our jobs and our tax dollars. America's illegal alien population will begin to shrink instead of grow if we support candidates that will reflect the will of the vast majority of American citizens.

    FOUR POINT PLATFORM: "Simply enforce our existing immigration laws!"
  1. Secure Our Borders
  2. Crack down on employers that intentionally hire illegals
  3. Remove incentives and rewards to illegals such as licenses, welfare, and other taxpayer benefits
  4. Enforce our existing laws and deport illegal aliens when convicted of crimes or detected during routine law enforcement activities.
Source: ALI website 10-ALI on Nov 2, 2010

Declare English as the official language of the US.

Paul co-sponsored declaring English as the official language of the US

This bill declares English as the official language of the United States, establishes a uniform English language rule for naturalization.

  1. The United States is comprised of individuals from diverse ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds, and continues to benefit from this rich diversity.
  2. Throughout the history of the United States, the common thread binding individuals of differing backgrounds has been the English language.
  3. Federal Representatives of shall have an obligation to enhance the role of English as the official language of the Federal Government.
  4. The official functions of the Government of the United States shall be conducted in English.
  5. All citizens should be able to read and understand generally the English language text of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the laws of the US.
  6. All naturalization ceremonies shall be conducted in English.
Source: English Language Unity Act (H.R.997) 2007-HR997 on Feb 12, 2007

Other candidates on Immigration: Ron Paul on other issues:
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Jill Stein(G)
C.G.David Walker(AE)

GOP Withdrawals:
Rep.Michele Bachmann(MN)
Herman Cain(GA)
Gov.Chris Cristie(NJ)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Rep.Thaddeus McCotter(MI)
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Page last updated: May 31, 2012