Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Sunday that he will vote against the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill because it puts too little emphasis on border security.
Despite the security measures expected to be included in the bill — including 700 miles of new fence, 20,000 new border agents, and triple the number of unmanned drones monitoring the border — Paul said on CNN’s State of the Union he wouldn’t support the legislation unless Congress was able to vote on whether it would include border security triggers.
Paul has said before that he wants a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants to be contingent on border security. Just last week he proposed a “Trust but Verify” amendment, a process of legalizing immigrants only if Congress voted each year that the border had become more secure than the previous year. The amendment failed in the Senate.
“I’m all in favor of immigration reform,” Paul said on Sunday, “but I’m like most conservatives in the country, that I think reform should be dependent on border security first. To me, what really tells me that they’re serious would be letting Congress vote on whether the border’s secure.”
Paul wasn’t quite on message with fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a member of the Gang of Eight, who was on Fox News Sunday arguing that the immigration bill would “practically militarize the border.” Graham has recently criticized members of his party who don’t support the bill, saying he thinks they use border security as a cover for what they’re really afraid of — a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants who may vote against them.
Last week, Paul introduced a second amendment that would eliminate the immigration bill’s pathway to citizenship — which already includes many hurdles, including passing a background check, taking an English language test and paying a fine.
Paul said earlier this year that immigration reform “will not occur until Conservative Republicans, like myself, become part of the solution.” In fact, his opposition shows that he is going against a majority of his fellow Senate members, and standing in the way of a solution rather than helping create one.