Republican Sen. Rand Paul blasted President Barack Obama’s plan to employ executive orders to overhaul immigration policy, saying it will "poison the well" on reaching a compromise package.
The libertarian Kentucky senator said Obama’s recent statements that he will act without Congress will "kill immigration reform and further polarize the country," according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
"What will happen is it will poison the well," Paul told reporters after a speech to the Rotary Club in Shelbyville, Kentucky. "It will make the atmosphere more poisonous in Washington. It will be seen as illegal by most of us on the Republican side to pass legislation with no vote in Congress."
Paul, who is fiercely opposed to the president using executive actions, voted against the comprehensive immigration reform bill drawn up by the so-called bipartisan "Gang of Eight" and passed in the Senate last year.
Obama lashed out at House Republicans on Monday for being "unwilling to stand up to the tea party in order to do what's best for the country," and said he would act unilaterally to get things done in Washington, according to the Herald-Leader.
But he added, "I don't prefer taking administrative action. I would rather see permanent fixes to the issue we face. Certainly, that's true on immigration. I have made that clear multiple times. I would love nothing more than bipartisan legislation to pass the House, the Senate, land on my desk, so I can sign it."
, Obama mocked what he described as a do-nothing Congress, while saying he won't apologize for taking executive action on political issues without the legislative branch.
But Paul, a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016, called on Obama "to come to Capitol Hill if he wants to do things," according to the Herald-Leader.
Thousands of illegal immigrants from Central America, many of them children, are flooding across the border in Arizona and Texas every week, creating a humanitarian crisis for the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Earlier this week, Obama asked Congress for $2 billion
to cope with the surge, which would be used to help speed up removal proceedings for the illegal immigrants. The president said the move will ensure that deportations are handled as humanely as possible.
Paul said that he’s a "moderate" when it comes to dealing with the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, while saying that he believes in a position of "forgiveness."
Paul said if Republicans want to return to the White House, GOP conservatives who oppose any form of amnesty must reach a compromise with lawmakers who support a pathway to citizenship for illegals.
"If we're going to be the white party, we're going to be the losing party," Paul said, according to the Lexington newspaper.
Asked what’s the difference between forgiveness and amnesty, he replied, "What I would say to conservatives is that I'm about as conservative as they come. I'm a pretty conservative U.S. senator. What I would say to my friends who are conservatives is 'doing nothing is also untenable.'"
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