Today Rand Paul spoke at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The WSJ has the text of his full speech here. As part of the leadership in the GOP, Paul too believes comprehensive immigration reform is necessary for his party to be competitive in national elections. I have wondered whether the rank and file GOP agree with their party's leadership on this point. Nevertheless, it is hugely significant that conservatives like Paul are saying things like this when only a year ago Romney and the GOP platform were endorsing self-deportation:
The Republican Party must embrace more legal immigration.
Unfortunately, like many of the major debates in Washington, immigration has become a stalemate-where both sides are imprisoned by their own rhetoric or attachment to sacred cows that prevent the possibility of a balanced solution.
Immigration Reform will not occur until Conservative Republicans, like myself, become part of the solution. I am here today to begin that conversation.
Let’s start that conversation by acknowledging we aren’t going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants.
If you wish to work, if you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you.
In order to bring conservatives to this cause however, those who work for reform must understand that a real solution must ensure that our borders are secure.
But we also must treat those who are already here with understanding and compassion.
Paul understands that neither mass deportation nor self-deportation is an option and this is a huge step in the right direction and undeniable progress. As I have previously noted though, the devil is in the details of how we "find a place" for the undocumented and how we secure our borders and when they are considered secured.