Rand Paul throws weight behind immigration reform effort

Makes calls with Grover Norquist seeking conservative support

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Mr. Paul, whose supporters style him as a “live and let live” conservative, can use the issue to try to coalesce behind his disparate GOP coalition elements, including tea party backers, traditionalist conservatives, business interests and establishment Republicans.

A top Paul aide confirmed the alliance of Mr. Paul and Mr. Norquist on immigration reform, after The Times received a copy of an email sent to Republicans, Democrats, independents and others thought to be open to some kind of reform.

Rand made the calls on immigration reform with Grover this morning,” Doug Stafford, who heads Mr. Paul’s political action committee, told The Times.

The email from the group announcing Mr. Paul’s participation opened with a subject line that stated that the senator “adds voice to #CallForReform.”

“Today, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) joined Grover Norquist to talk about the importance of passing immigration reform this year on the second call in a series with conservative leaders,” the group’s executive director, Jeremy Robbins, wrote in the email.

The message went on to note that “Senator Paul follows Sal Russo, co-founder of the Tea Party Express, who launched the series last month by calling for an overhaul of America’s immigration laws this year.”

The email concluded by noting that Mr. Paul and Mr. Russo “join an increasingly large group of conservatives who understand that the future of our economy depends on fixing our outdated immigration reform system.”

Many Americans of all political stripes regard the phrase “immigration reform” as code for granting amnesty to foreigners living in the U.S. illegally.

To some “rule of law” conservatives, it is a swear word. To other conservatives, putting millions of illegal immigrants on the road to legal status and eventually to citizenship is realistic politically and fair for people who flee warlords, drug lords and dysfunctional economies abroad to find work in the U.S.

The Partnership for a New American Economy boasts such high-profile members as former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a common foe of gun rights advocates and many other conservatives, and the equally wealthy Rupert Murdoch, the conservative owner of major newspapers and the Fox television family of news and entertainment channels.

The organization’s website claims it “brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic, and independent mayors and business leaders united in making the economic case for streamlining, modernizing, and rationalizing our immigration system.”

Mr. Paul has been calling for a reform of immigration laws that secures the borders first, provides for a robust guest-worker program and can, under certain conditions, lead to the legalization of those who entered the U.S. without authorization or who overstayed their visas.

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About the Author
Ralph Z. Hallow

Ralph Z. Hallow

Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.

 

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