On Thursday, Ron Paul announced he would form an exploratory committee for a run at the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. This is about as unexpected as spring snow melt.

I served with Ron Paul in Congress for 10 years. He was a member of my Immigration Reform Caucus, and I consider him a friend. We didn’t see eye to eye on every issue, but he was generally an ally in the fight against illegal immigration. Unfortunately, it appears that Paul’s views on immigration have now shifted into the pro-amnesty camp.

Last week, Rep. Paul released his latest book, “Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom.” One of those 50 issues is immigration, and Paul gives a more detailed explanation of his views in the book than I have ever seen before.

The result is not pretty. Paul’s book misrepresents the views of immigration-control advocates and then insults their motivations. He insinuates that patriotic Americans who oppose mass immigration are lazy and motivated by race. He says that immigrants “have a work ethic superior to many of our own citizens who have grown dependent on welfare and unemployment benefits. This anger may reflect embarrassment as much as anything.” He also claims, “It’s hard to hide the fact that resentment toward a Hispanic immigrant is more common than toward a European illegal immigrant.”

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The immigration website VDARE.com refutes both of these assertions. They note that 77 percent of illegal aliens are Hispanic, while less than 5 percent of illegal and 10 percent of legal immigrants are European – so the idea that we are treating Europeans specially is specious. VDARE also points to a Center for Immigration Studies report that shows immigrants are much more likely to be on welfare than native-born American citizens.

In addition to insulting the motives of the critics of uncontrolled immigration, he argues against policies that we don’t support. According to Paul, immigration-control advocates want to “use the U.S. Army, round them up, ship them home.” In my decades fighting this battle, I have not once heard anyone advocate using the military for deportations.

Paul says deporting illegal immigrants will require “splitting up families and deporting some who have lived here for decades.” Of course, there is nothing keeping the children of illegal immigrants from going home for their parents. If we got rid of birthright citizenship, which Paul says he supports, that would not be an issue to begin with.

As for the illegals here for decades, why should we reward them for breaking the law longer than others? Some crimes have a statute of limitation, but unlawful entry into our country does not.

According to Paul, deporting such people would be “incompatible with human rights.” That is an off argument for any true libertarian to make, since the protection of true human rights begins with the U.S. Constitution and our ability to enforce the rule of law.

The truth is that we do not need to deport all illegal aliens to make them go home. If we simply prevent employers from hiring illegal aliens by using E-Verify and step up interior enforcement as Arizona, Oklahoma and other states have done, most illegal aliens will go home on their own.

Paul comes out against both these policies. He not only opposes the E-Verify program, he even comes out against all laws that prohibit employers from hiring illegal aliens. To make his point even more dramatic, he absurdly calls the idea of fining employers for hiring illegal aliens “involuntary servitude.”

Paul comes out against Arizona’s popular SB 1070 law using absurd arguments of the type normally heard only from America-hating leftists: “Arizona-type immigration legislation can turn out to be harmful. Being able to stop any American citizen under the vague charge of ‘suspicion’ is dangerous even more so in the age of secret prisons and a stated position of assassinating American citizens if deemed a ‘threat,’ without charges ever being made.”

I am still scratching my head trying to figure out what supposed secret prisons and political assassinations have to do with enforcing our immigration laws. The Arizona law’s definition of 
”reasonable suspicion” is the same standard that applies for federal immigration officials and local law enforcement for non-immigration violations, so the law does not expand police powers.

So if we can’t enforce the law, what does Paul want to do with the 12 million illegal aliens here in this country? While he says he opposes amnesty, he argues, “Maybe a ‘green card’ with an asterisk could be issued.” This “asterisk” would deny them welfare and not grant them immediate “automatic citizenship.” Both these qualifications are meaningless because every amnesty proposal makes illegal aliens jump through some symbolic hoops before they get amnesty.

I have no idea why he has changed his position on illegal immigration, but one thing is clear: Asterisk or not, Ron Paul now supports amnesty.

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