Rand Paul: GOP needs to 'get beyond deportation'
April 1st, 2014
03:12 PM ET
6 months ago

Rand Paul: GOP needs to 'get beyond deportation'

(CNN) – Rand Paul said Tuesday it's critical for Republicans to broaden their message on immigration to the Latino community if the party is going to have a chance at gaining support from the politically imperative group in future elections.

"We're not just the party of deportation. We got to get beyond deportation to get to the rest of the issues," the senator from Kentucky said at a Latino media forum in Washington.

Paul, a potential 2016 contender, has been open about his presidential ambitions.

This year, Paul has taken his libertarian-leaning message to longtime Democratic strongholds, pushing for a more inclusive Republican Party in the wake of President Obama's 2012 re-election victory over Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

Seventy-one percent of Latinos voted for Obama in the last election, compared to 27% for Romney - a lower percentage than Republican nominees received in the previous three elections. Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in the United States, making up 16% of the nation's population and, in 2012, the group made up 10% of the electorate, hitting the double-digits for the first time ever.

Paul laid out a two-pronged approach for the GOP to attract Latino voters - "One, you have to show up. And then secondly, you have to have something to say."

"I think that what's happened is that there is not the perception of empathy from the Republican Party, that we care about where they're coming from and we care about what their problems are," he said. "Until we get to that point, they're not going to listen to any of the next message."

Polls: Public's immigration priorities changing

Despite his calls for Republicans to reach out to Latino voters and work on immigration issues, Paul opposed a bipartisan bill on immigration reform that passed the Senate last year. At the forum, Paul said he voted against the bill because it still makes it illegal for workers with legal visas to switch jobs.

Republicans have been critical of the White House's immigration policy. A 2012 decision by the Obama administration to stop deporting young illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children if they meet certain requirements earned praise from many Latino groups, but drew outrage from some Republicans who said the position amounts to amnesty.

Still, Obama's administration has come under fire from activists who criticize the President as "deporter in chief" for overseeing a rise in deportations.

Last month, Obama ordered Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson to conduct a review of enforcement policies to find better ways of administering current immigration law.

House Speaker John Boehner signaled immigration reform was unlikely to happen this year, given the divide in the GOP-controlled House over how to deal with some 11 million undocumented workers as well as general distrust among Republicans of Obama to enforce existing immigration laws.

Beyond immigration, Paul argued that his party needs to push back against some perceptions that Republican policies are focused solely on helping wealthy Americans.

"If you go into the African-American community or into the Latino community, they think Republicans are a bunch of rich white people," he said. "But it's not only just a race or ethnic base, it's also sort of working class. You go to the working class, they think, 'Oh conservatives are just a bunch of rich people. They don't care about people like me.'"

Paul said Democrats' group-oriented political tactics have trumped the GOP in picking up Latino and African-American votes. But, he argued, Democrats have taken those votes granted, providing an opportunity for Republicans to reach out to the historically liberal voting blocs.

"I think the Democrats have also taken the votes for granted, particularly the African-American vote. They just say, 'It's ours. We don't even have to do anything to get that vote,'" he said.

Tuesday's forum, held at the Newseum in Washington marked the launch of MRC Latino, the first-ever Spanish-language media watchdog. It was sponsored by conservative groups Media Research Center and American Principles Project.


Filed under: Immigration • Rand Paul
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    "We're not just the party of deportation. We got to get beyond deportation to get to the rest of the issues,"
    ----------------------------------
    The GOP hasn't deported anyone, however the President has. Highest number of deportations than any other POTUS.

    April 1, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    repub/tea bags love to say that President Obama is turning a blind eye to illegal immigration – they how do you explain that his monthly average for deportations is 32,886 (compared to 20,964 for GW Bush)?

    April 1, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. salty dog

    And what exactly do you think the gop has done for African Americans? Try to suppress their right to vote, education, and healthcare, cut food for hungry children, all for tax breaks for the rich, that makes sense, why do people hate you again?

    April 1, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    "History's lessons don't become moot just because you think it'll all go down in a different way that it did the first time if we start repeating the mistakes of the past."

    That's the libertarian mindset in a nutshell. Reminds me of a toddler who wants to play outside and thinks that if he just denies the rain long enough, it'll go away.

    Or put more succinctly: libertarians are a bunch of immature, naive brats.

    April 1, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    "I think that what's happened is that there is not the perception of empathy from the Republican Party, that we care about where they're coming from and we care about what their problems are,"

    It's all about the gop/tea bags (read: white folks, predominantly older and male) coming to the realizing that they are rapidly becoming a minority.

    And they are scared scheisse-less, given that they expect to be treated the way THEY treat minorities.

    April 1, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    The problem is the jingoistic yahoos in control of the Republican Party don't want to recognize that President Obama has deported more illegal aliens than the last three Republican Presidents combined. And many of those illegals arrived during those aforesaid administrations. Then again, they don't like pesky things like facts to interfere with their truths.

    April 1, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Chris-E...al

    Dems are the PPL that wore the white klan hoods and are not doing nothing but use 0bama as a decoy for your vote . Why they are the ones that look down on black folk !
    ------------------------
    Yet, Rand Paul thinks that Republicans are the ones that "black folk" look up to.

    April 1, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Tom l

    Think Again,
    Gosh, if we could just get rid of all the repubs than everything would be great because then we could have the honest dems who really care about the average American. I bet you honestly believe that.

    April 1, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Name jk. Sfl. THE KOCH BROTHERS STOOGES PARTY NEEDS to be VOTED OUT IN NOVEMBER !!!!

    The GOP BLOOD BATH is coming for them in November ,say hi to president ROMNEY,,GOP morons!!!!!

    April 1, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. Name jk. Sfl. THE KOCH BROTHERS STOOGES PARTY NEEDS to be VOTED OUT IN NOVEMBER !!!!

    Why would Latinos care if CRIMINALS are being deported , I doubt if they care and they don't want those losers LIVING in THEIR neighborhood and neither do I !!!!!

    April 1, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    tom l

    I'm not in favor of any discrimination of any form. I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race. We still do have private clubs in America that can discriminate based on race.

    "But I think what's important in this debate is not getting into any specific "gotcha" on this, but asking the question 'What about freedom of speech?' Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent. Should we limit racists from speaking. I don't want to be associated with those people, but I also don't want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior because that's one of the things that freedom requires is that we allow people to be boorish and uncivilized, but that doesn't mean we approve of it..."

    Rand Paul said that. And when did Rand Paul endorse that there should be determinations made based solely on race. I think that must be a typo.
    ---------------------------------–
    You proved it and said it yourself, tom. Paul did it when he asserted that bigotry is a form of freedom of speech, which needs to be defended.. Besides, it's your own phrase used in the context bigots make determinations based upon race.

    Sorry, tom. Rand Paul bears too much resemblance to everything wrong with today's Republicans. He's simply trying to paint a new picture of himself. His record speaks for itself, just as his father's did. Personally, I think the only reason Paul defends bigotry is to be able to not distance himself from his roots ... his own father.

    April 1, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    "And to call him an etch a sketch just furthers your bitter partisanship. He is wholly consistent and has been ever since he was elected."

    I don't care if he's been consistent; his policies are all PROVEN FAILURES. He has yet to shown any historical example of his policies resulting in broad-based, sustainable economic prosperity. And for a guy who supposedly loves freedom, he wants to dictate what a woman does with her body.

    NEXT!

    April 1, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. O'drama ya Mama

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    "We're not just the party of deportation. We got to get beyond deportation to get to the rest of the issues,"
    ------------
    The GOP hasn't deported anyone, however the President has. Highest number of deportations than any other POTUS.
    April 1, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    So why do the Republicans keep telling Obama he isnt enforcing the laws on the books? If he has deported the highest number of illegals then any other President wouldnt that mean he IS enforcing the laws on the books? You cant say both and think anyone with a brain isnt going to call you out for your ridiculous excuses.

    April 1, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. tom l

    But bigotry is a form of freedom of speech and the whole point of freedom of speech is to defend ALL forms whether you agree with it or not. Either you are purposely misrepresenting his comments or are too slow to understand. What part of this comment is racist?
    "Should we limit racists from speaking. I don't want to be associated with those people, but I also don't want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior because that's one of the things that freedom requires is that we allow people to be boorish and uncivilized, but that doesn't mean we approve of it"

    He says he doesn't want to be associated with those people but he will defend their right to free speech. That's the problem with people like you. You will only defend speech that you agree with.

    April 1, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Name jk. Sfl. THE KOCH BROTHERS GOP STOOGES PARTY NEEDS to be VOTED OUT IN NOVEMBER !!!!

    When will the GOP ANTI HEALTHCARE party GIVE IT UP ????? Maybe when sign ups hit 20 million???? My son got a silver blue cross policy in Florida FOR 62.00 a month in spite of govenor Scott efforts to sabatuage the law along with the GOP legislature . THATS WHY THEIR ALL GETTING VOTED OUT in November !!!!!

    April 1, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. just saying

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    "We're not just the party of deportation. We got to get beyond deportation to get to the rest of the issues,"
    ------------
    The GOP hasn't deported anyone, however the President has. Highest number of deportations than any other POTUS.
    ---

    except they only deport a very small fraction of the illegals they catch in the usa. 25%. so if they deported 300,000 last year, they set loose 900,000 illeglas and didn't deport them. our government is simply not enforcing our laws. why should we expect them to enforce new laws any better? lefties refuse to address this question because they never will accept anything other than open borders and a takeover of this country.

    April 1, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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