Rand Paul Hopes Republican Convention Speakers are Welcoming to Nation's Immigrants

Jul 19, 2016

Members of Kentucky's delegation at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland
Credit Abbey Oldham, PBS Newshour

Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul says he hopes speakers at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland reach out to the nation’s immigrants.

Paul told WKU Public Radio he hopes the GOP sends the message “that our party is welcoming to all people, no matter where you came from, or where you immigrated from. That we look at immigrants seeking freedom and prosperity as assets to our country, and that we’re the party of opportunity, and the party that wants to alleviate poverty through the creation of jobs.”

The Bowling Green Republican says he disagrees with statements made by his party’s presumptive presidential candidate, Donald Trump, about banning all Muslim immigrants from entering the country.

In December, the Trump campaign issued a statement saying the candidate was “calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.”

“I don’t think there should be a religious test for entering into the U.S.,” Sen. Paul said. “But I don’t think we should stick our head in the sand and say, 'Oh well, let's just have open borders--none of these people are coming to attack us.'"

Credit Abbey Oldham

Paul said European Union countries have suffered a spate of terrorist attacks recently in part due to the group’s open borders policy.

The Kentucky Senator said the U.S. needs to “slow down the flow” of immigrants and make sure the country “knows who all is coming in the country, and what their intentions are. If you’re visiting our country now, we need to know if you’ve overstayed your visa. If you come here on a student visa and you’re supposed to be here for a year while you’re in school, and that was the arrangement, you need to go home when that’s over.”

“I think we need to enforce more of what’s in our current immigration rules.”

Paul is not attending his party’s convention in Cleveland, saying that he’ll instead focus on his Senate reelection effort. He’s holding a series of town hall meetings across the state this week.

Paul is facing Democratic nominee Jim Gray, the mayor of Lexington.

Paul ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for president and dropped out of the race following a poor showing at the Iowa caucus.