Back in 2008, presidential candidate Ron Paul released a nasty campaign ad showing undocumented immigrants sneaking across the border. “Ron Paul wants border security now,” declared the ad. “Physically secure the border, no amnesty, no welfare to illegal aliens, end birthright citizenship, no more student visas from terrorist nations,” proclaims the narrator. Watch it:
Now, it appears Paul has softened his tone. In an interview session with John Stossel, Paul expressed some doubts about the restrictionist positions that usually characterize the far right:
I don’t believe in the open borders. But I don’t like the idea of people wanting to build walls and fences and guns and thinking that the immigrant is the evil monster and the immigrant becomes the scapegoat of everything. I think that’s very very bad.
I do not support amnesty. [...] I’m not for amnesty but it’s absolutely impossible to think that anybody — no matter strongly feel against illegals — they’re not going to round up 12 or 15 million people. It doesn’t make any sense.
Paul also pointed out that “the purist Libertarian viewpoint is totally open-borders.” Yet, he quickly clarified that, “I don’t endorse that, I don’t think we are quite able to do that as long as people can come in here and take advantage of the welfare system.”
If that’s Paul’s only hesitation, he may want to take a closer a look and who actually qualifies to receive public benefits. Undocumented immigrants don’t qualify for any of the benefits of the “welfare system.” They do receive emergency care and their children can attend public schools. That is about it when it comes to the benefits that they are allowed to receive.
Of course, an open borders policy is totally unrealistic. Yet, Paul’s tempered position stands in sharp contrast to that of his son’s. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). When Sen. Paul was running for office, he infamously proposed building an underground electric fence. He later “clarified” that he would prefer it be built above ground.
Ron Paul announced earlier this week that he is forming a presidential exploratory committee.