Rand Paul Immigration Amendment Alters Path to Citizenship

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Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 02:41 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Sen. Rand Paul is pushing several amendments to the Gang of Eight's bipartisan immigration reform bill in a bid to overturn some parts of the Senate legislation, including the measure's pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

According to the Hill, Paul plans to put forward an amendment this week that would eliminate the pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants, one of the hallmarks of the legislation, while lifting the caps on guest workers.

Under his plan, illegal immigrants would have to apply for legal permanent residency and citizenship through the existing waiting lists of their native countries.

Latest: Do You Support Giving Illegals Citizenship? Vote Here Now

A second measure already filed by Paul would give Congress-- not the Department of Homeland Security as proposed in the Senate legislation -- the ultimate authority to decide when the southern U.S. border is sufficiently secure. The Paul plan would make border security, and a Congressional vote validating its success, a prerequisite of proceeding with immigration reform.

The Kentucky Republican has been widely viewed as a 2016 presidential contender and his immigration proposals could shore up his credentials with conservatives.

According to the most recent polls, a majority of Americans are in favor of a pathway to citizenship for the nation's undocumented immigrants, particularly if they meet certain requirements, but some conservatives remain unconvinced.

"Rand Paul can turn around and say in 2016, 'Hey guys, I tried to fix it,'" GOP strategist Ford O'Connell told The Hill.

Meanwhile, for months Republican lawmakers have said that their support for the overall immigration legislation would be contingent on having a rigorous border security system in place. They've also indicated they are skeptical about the bill's current proposal to delegate authority to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to enforce security measures. Paul's second amendment would speak to both of those concerns.

Paul's final amendment is designed to ensure that immigrants with provisional legal status do not vote, the Hill reported, and would make federal election funding contingent on states checking voter rolls against visa databases to ensure people with provisional legal status are not voting along with citizens.

Latest: Do You Support Giving Illegals Citizenship? Vote Here Now

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