Senator tells Laura Ingraham during her radio program that compromise should include reduction in annual immigration flows

by Brendan Kirby | Updated 16 Jan 2018 at 7:37 PM

Congressional Democrats are unrealistic to think they can win amnesty for millions of young illegals in America without making genuine concessions on border security and systemic immigration reforms, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Tuesday.

Appearing on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” Paul noted Democrats control neither the White House nor either house of Congress.

“It’s a bit naïve for Democrats to think when they control no branches of government … they’re gonna get everything they want,” he said. “So, really, this would have to be a negotiation. And I think the president holds the cards. And if he stands firm, he’ll get a decent negotiation on this.”

Although Democrats are in the minority, they do hold some leverage. Republicans cannot pass a spending bill to prevent the government from shutting down later this week without at least nine Democratic votes in the Senate. And some Democrats have threatened a shutdown if they don’t get full amnesty for all illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children.

Nearly 700,000 of those young adults currently are enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a quasi-amnesty created by former President Barack Obama by executive order in 2012. It is set to expire on March 5, although a federal judge has temporarily barred the Trump administration from shutting it down.

Paul said a natural compromise would involve legal status for DACA enrollees, but reducing the annual flow of legal immigrants by an equal number. He said he pitched the idea to some of his Democratic colleagues about six months ago but got a cold reception.

“They came back to me and said, ‘No way, we want everything. We want what we want,'” he said.

Paul backed the president’s call to couple legal status for DACA enrollees with two things in return. They would end the ability of new citizens to sponsor extended relatives for immigration, and also eliminate a lottery program that awards about 50,000 green cards each year to people selected randomly from applicants in countries with low levels of migration to the United States.

Paul criticized the “Gang of Six” — three Republican and three Democratic senators — for pushing an amnesty compromise proposal that could not pass the House of Representatives.

Paul also said outrage over Trump’s alleged comment that some third-world countries are “s***hole nations” is disingenuous. He noted that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) expressed the same sentiment during a Senate hearing in 2013 when he said the United States could not admit everyone who wants to immigrate from “hellholes” around the world.

“When he said it, nobody was calling him a racist. And now he’s a great statesman that everybody’s looking toward for talking to President Trump and telling President Trump he was wrong,” he said. “But in reality, there is a valid point.”

Paul said the reaction over the comment is an indication of how poisonous politics has become in the United States. The senator, who suffered broken ribs at the hands of a blindside attack by a neighbor last year, said every other comment from leftists responding to a tweet about his volunteer medical mission to Haiti and Central America expressed a desire for more violence.

“They’re wishing that I would be re-injured again,” he said. “And it’s like, really? These are the people who are calling Trump a hater, and yet they’re so consumed with hate that they want violence to be meted out on a public official. And everyone that they disagree with, they call a racist.”

Asked about the brewing boycott by some congressional Democrats of Trump’s upcoming State of the Union address, Paul noted that he attended President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speeches and went to White House Christmas parties even though he disagreed with him on most issues.

Paul said Trump could help his cause by toning down his own rhetoric.

“I would say that intemperate language doesn’t help,” he said. “And so I think that really, we could do better, would be less distracted, if we had less of the daily dialogue. And I know that’s what he’s famous for, and he likes talking directly to the people. But I think if there was less ammunition, we’d get less distracted from the good things that he has done and that we’ve all been part of.”