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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has been taking heat over his position on immigration ever since AP incorrectly described him as having supported a path to citizenship for illegal aliens.

What he said was he wanted to expand the worker visa program, secure the border and acknowledge that there already is a system for people to become citizens.

Now he’s getting some support from several members of the U.S. House.

“We write to offer you our support, encouragement and assistance as we work together to identify the principles that must guide our nation’s thinking on immigration reform,” the letter said.

“You noted Tuesday in your remarks to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that ‘somewhere along the line, Republicans have failed to understand and articulate that immigrants are an asset to American, not a liability,’ and that the Republican Party must embrace more legal immigration. We wholeheartedly agree – and stand alongside you in your efforts. We believe you put it best when you said, ‘Immigration reform will not occur until conservative Republicans … become part of the solution.”

The letter was signed by Reps. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C.; Justin Amash, R-Mich.; Thomas Massie, R-Ky.; Jeff Duncan, R-S.C.; Trey Radel, R-Fla.; and Mark Meadows, R-N.C.

The House members said they believe there are three key ingredients to a solution: Ensuring the security of the borders, expanding legal immigration and finding a way to “address” the reported 11 million illegal aliens now in the nation.

They said the security of the border must act as a prerequisite for other changes, and that it’s good for a nation to encourage highly skilled workers educated in the U.S. to remain.

Regarding the illegal aliens already present, they wrote, the rights of those who are seeking to move to the U.S. legally must be protected.

But they recognize that resolving the in-limbo status of those who are illegal “may mean providing a legal status, upon certain conditions and that may not include full rights of citizenship.”

“We believe that such an approach would put the broader health of our economy – not entrenched special interests – at the forefront of this debate. Indeed, it would go great lengths to reinforce the principles we share as Americans, as sons and daughters of immigrants ourselves.”

Paul was named just this week as the go-to man for the GOP for the 2016 presidential race by new conservative star Dr. Benjamin Carson.

“He has courage, he’s willing to take positions that some other people won’t and part of the problem that we’re having right now is that there are a lot of people who lack courage, who always want everybody to adore them and they just are not willing to take stands based on real convictions. And when I see that, I’m really impressed with it,” Carson told the Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity.

Carson is director of the pediatric neurosurgery division at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He shot to national prominence after giving a speech Feb. 7 at the National Prayer Breakfast. With President Obama seated just two chairs to his right, Carson delivered a blistering critique of class warfare, political correctness and a bloated bureaucracy.

But, as WND reported, it was Carson’s devastating criticism of Obamacare, along with his market-oriented proposals for health-care reform, that made headlines.

As WND also reported, Carson’s appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference days ago generated a blizzard of complimentary tweets along with some racist sentiments. Carson also told of the “nastygrams” he received following remarks he gave as keynote speaker at last month’s National Prayer Breakfast. Haters hurled the N-word at him for “insulting” Obama and for bringing up God and the Bible.

It was AP’s Erica Werner who reported Paul told a Hispanic business group that illegal aliens should be allowed to become U.S. taxpayers and ultimately get a shot at citizenship.

However, Paul told the Washington Post, which carried the original story, the reporting was inaccurate.

“I didn’t use the word citizenship at all this morning,” he said. “Basically what I want to do is to expand the worker visa program, have border security and then as far as how people become citizens, there already is a process for how people become citizens.”

Paul said the “main difference is I wouldn’t have people be forced to go home.”

“You’d just get in line. But you get in the same line everyone is in,” he said.

At RedState.com, Erick Erickson backed Paul.

“I have read the entirety of Rand Paul’s speech. I have spoken directly to the senator,” he said. “Nowhere in his speech does he use the word ‘citizenship.’ In fact, the word citizen is only used once, in reference to Rand Paul himself saying, ‘As a teenager, I was not always the model citizen that I am today.’”

The RedState report said Paul was talking about fixing the guest worker program, not giving citizenship.

On social media, the senator said: “In the 1986 immigration plan, border security was promised in exchange for what amounted to amnesty. It never happened. I’m opposed to amnesty and my plan demands a secure border before immigration reform.”

On his U.S. Senate website, he makes clear he does not support amnesty and considers illegal immigration a “clear threat to our nation’s security”:

I do not support amnesty, I support legal immigration and recognize that the country has been enriched by those who seek the freedom to make a life for themselves. However, millions of illegal immigrants are crossing our border without our knowledge and causing a clear threat to our national security. I want to work in the Senate to secure our border immediately. In addition, I support the creation of a border fence and increased border patrol capabilities.

Immigrants should meet the current requirements, which should be enforced and updated. I realize that subsidizing something creates more of it, and do not think the taxpayer should be forced to pay for welfare, medical care and other expenses for illegal immigrants. Once the subsidies for illegal immigration are removed, the problem will likely become far less common.

I support local solutions to illegal immigration as protected by the 10th amendment. I support making English the official language of all documents and contracts.

Millions crossing our border without our knowledge constitutes a clear threat to our nation’s security. Instead of closing military bases at home and renting space in Europe, I am open to the construction of bases to protect our border.

See Rand Paul:

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