By Tom Loftus 5 hours ago

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Monday repeatedly declined to give a personal opinion on the recent incendiary remarks about immigration by fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“I’ve tried to talk about what my plan is for immigration so I don’t get trapped into talking about what 20 other people are saying about immigration,” Paul told reporters after a meeting with about 25 constituents here arranged by his U.S. Senate office.

Trump, the billionaire real estate investor and television personality, said during the launch of his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination last month that undocumented immigrants crossing the border from Mexico were “people that have lots of problems … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Some Republican leaders have distanced themselves from Trump because of his remarks, and on Sunday, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is also seeking the GOP presidential nomination, called on party leaders to denounce Trump.

But Paul would give no opinion on Trump’s comments, despite repeated questions Monday. Asked whether he thought that Trump’s comments damage the Republican Party, Paul said, “I’ve got to stick with my message” rather than comment on messages of the many others seeking his party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

Paul said his message is, “I think most people come to this country in search of the American dream. It doesn’t mean you can have a lawless border, though.”

Paul said he recently proposed legislation aimed at preventing a repeat of the July 1 murder of a woman in San Francisco. An undocumented immigrant released from a San Francisco jail — despite a request from federal authorities that he be held — has been charged with that murder.

Paul’s proposal would require that state and local law enforcement notify the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) following the arrest of an illegal immigrant and detain that person if requested to do so by ICE. If the federal authorities request it, the state or local authorities would be required to transfer the illegal immigrant to them, Paul said.

“So, with regard to the sanctuary cities, I’m trying to come up with solutions rather than ‘who said this,’ ‘he said this,’ ‘she said that,’ ” Paul said.