The dramatically tectonic nature of the national Republican Party’s shift on immigration policy wasn’t really clear until Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, long a favorite of the ultra-conservative Tea Party, in late March suddenly came out for a pathway to citizenship for some illegal immigrants — even though he doesn’t want it called anything like that.
In the very same speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Paul — son of the Libertarian leader Ron Paul and himself a likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate — essentially denied the longstanding but unsupported claim that undocumented newcomers are “parasites” who cost state, local and national governments billions of dollars.
“I have never met a new immigrant looking for a free lunch,” Paul said. “We should be proud that so many want to come to America…We should make it a land of legal work, not black-market jobs, work and not welfare. Our land should be one of assimilation, not hiding in the shadows.”
Before Paul's talk, remarks like those would far more likely have come from Democratic politicians — almost any Democratic politicians trying to cement Hispanic votes into that party’s column...