U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said immigration reform was not to blame for the surprise defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Tuesday night.
Cantor lost to Dave Bratt, a little-known economic professor whose campaign focused largely on immigration. His defeat had some wondering if it would be difficult for the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives to pass immigration reform.
But Paul said a number of issues contributed to Cantor's defeat, including his past votes to raise the debt ceiling and the controversy surrounding the National Security Administration's domestic spying program. He said U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham's victory in South Carolina proved immigration was not the paramount issue.
But Paul - a potential 2016 Republican candidate for president - acknowledged immigration reform remains a tricky area for Republicans.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says the U.S. needs to “find a place” for undocumented immigrant workers. The Bowling Green Republican addressed the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, in what many analysts are seeing as another sign that Paul is preparing for a 2016 presidential run.
While he never used the word “citizenship” in his speech, Paul promised to be what he called “part of the solution” on immigration reform, saying the nation needs to create some form of legal status for undocumented immigrants. Addressing his audience, the Kentucky Senator said "if you wish to work, if you wish to live in America, then we will find a place for you.” Paul says his position is a middle ground between amnesty and deportation, saying conservative members of his party must acknowledge the country can’t deport 12 million illegal immigrants.
The remarks are a major reversal of Paul’s earlier positions, which included calls for a constitutional amendment ending birthright citizenship and a proposal to build an underground electric fence along the length of the southern U.S. border.
WKU Public Radio's interview with Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer
The chances for some form of comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S. appear to be growing, with President Obama and a growing number of Congressional leaders saying they're willing to take on the emotional issue.
Any change to how immigrants receive citizenship or permanent legal status would have a big impact on America's farms and livestock operations, which depend heavily on immigrant labor.
WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis spoke Wednesday with Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer about how immigration reform might impact farmers in the Bluegrass State.
Here are some excerpts from their conversation:
Given your personal experience as a farmer in Monroe County and your job as Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, what do you make of the national discussions concerning new opportunities for immigrants to earn either citizenship or at least some form of permanent legal status?
"I've talked to Sen. McConnell and Sen. Paul about this issue, and we need immigration reform in the agriculture community in Kentucky. Anyone who drives up and down the road and sees farmers who are growing crops like tobacco, or vegetables, or has a dairy operation--they will see immigrant labor."