Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2016, announced Sunday he will vote against the Senate immigration reform bill because it does not guarantee border security.
“I’m all in favor of immigration reform but I’m like most conservatives in the country [in] that I think reform should be dependent on border security first,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union”.
Paul introduced an amendment that would have required Congress to vote on whether border security goals have been met before granting legal status to millions of illegal immigrants. The Senate rejected Paul’s proposal last week.
“Without some congressional authority and without border security first, I can’t support the final bill,” he said.
Paul, a member of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, said he is skeptical of a deal crafted with Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) that would spend roughly $30 billion to improve border security.
“We’ve thrown a lot of money at a lot of problems in our country. To me what really tells that they’re serious would be letting Congress vote on whether the border is secure,” he said. “If the people in the country want to be assured that we will not get another 10 million people to come here illegally over the next decade, they have to believe that they get a vote through their Congress.”
Paul warned that if millions of illegal immigrants receive legal status shortly after immigration reform becomes signed into law, there will be little incentive to secure the border.
“If this is a done deal once the bill’s over and it’s a done deal, we never get to revisit it because it will be very difficult, I don’t think we’ll really get a truly secure border,” he said.
Paul also faulted the bill for limiting work visas.
“This bill puts new caps and allows less workers to come in to pick crops. That’s where the illegal immigration is coming from. This bill will actually make that problem worse,” he said.
"I think the bill has too strict caps and that's why we'll get more illegal immigration," he said.