Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul: Trust but verify on immigration reform

by Senator Rand Paul  |  published on February 9, 2013


I am in favor of immigration reform. I am also wary of reforms granted now for a promise of border security later. In 1986, Ronald Reagan signed a deal that made just such a promise, yet we are still waiting for the border security that never came. Conservatives are also still waiting for the promised three dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in tax hikes. Fool me once … So, it is understandable conservatives should insist that any immigration reform incorporate the principle of trust but verify.

In that vein, I approach these efforts in good faith. I will advance both immigration reform and verifiable border security. Under my plan for comprehensive reform the US would begin with prioritizing Visas for immigrants with advanced degrees, the so-called STEM Visas and an immediate expansion of the work Visa program. These reforms would happen immediately.

But, as a matter of both national security and immigration policy, it is absolutely essential that we both secure our border and modernize our visa system so we know who comes and who goes on travel, student and other temporary visas. And it is vital all other reforms be conditioned on this goal being met.

Border Security, including drones, satellite, and physical barriers, vigilant deportation of criminals and increased patrols would begin immediately and be assessed at the end of one year by an investigator general from the General Accountability Office. Most importantly, and in contrast with any other plan out there, my plan will insist that report be presented to Congress for a vote. If, and only if Congress agreed that border security was progressing, then more reforms would ensue. If we can’t secure our border, and if we cannot prove we can modernize our system of issuing and tracking visas, we cannot take on the task of adding more people to our system.

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