WASHINGTON – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., the winner of the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll for 2016 only days ago, is denying an Associated Press report that he supports a path to citizenship for illegal aliens.

The AP’s Erica Werner 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.

The controversy arose when AP reported on his speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce:

“Let’s start that conversation by acknowledging we aren’t going to deport” the millions already here, the potential 2016 presidential candidate told the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Prudence, compassion and thrift all point us toward the same goal: bringing these workers out of the shadows and into becoming and being taxpaying members of society.

“Immigration reform will not occur until conservative Republicans, like myself, become part of the solution. I am here today to begin that conversation and to be part of the solution,” Paul said.

The report said Paul promised that if someone wants to be in the United States, a place would be found for him.

See Rand Paul:

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported a coalition of evangelical Christians, the Evangelical Immigration Table, is seeking a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens.

The group said, “This call is rooted in our biblically informed commitment to human freedom and dignity.”

Members of the coalition are the National Association of Evangelicals, the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Liberty Counsel and several Hispanic organizations.

WND reported only days ago that while President Obama pushed for amnesty for illegal immigrants in his first term, the Democrat-controlled Senate failed to pass the DREAM Act, which would have provided a road to citizenship for illegals in college or the military.

Obama promised last April that he would pursue amnesty, or what he calls comprehensive immigration reform, in the first year of his second term.

But even Democrats are showing signs of pushing back.

In an apparent slap at the president’s policy, the Democrat-controlled Senate has passed a spending bill eliminating the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Public Advocate. The administration created the position in February 2012 to advocate for immigrants’ rights.

The move comes at a time when the administration is facing criticism for releasing immigrants awaiting deportation from detention and blaming it on cuts caused by the sequester.

And as WND also reported, a federal court ruled the Obama administration must turn over records related to its policy of suspending some deportations of illegal aliens, which critics have called “stealth amnesty.”

The Department of Homeland Security violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to hand over relevant records to the D.C. watchdog group Judicial Watch, ruled Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Feb. 28.

The new policy gave wide latitude to local immigration officials to dismiss illegal alien deportation cases, including the dismissal of charges against illegals convicted of violent crimes. Since mid-February, the Obama administration has released from jail more than 2,000 illegal aliens facing deportation, the Associated Press reported.

The administration reportedly plans to release 3,000 more this month.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “Now, with the prison floodgates being thrown open to illegal aliens under the phony pretense of abiding by sequester cuts, it is more important than ever that Obama’s hand be revealed.”

Former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo wrote in a WND column what he sees as the outcome if securing the border isn’t made a priority over amnesty.

“First, if Congress legislates another general amnesty without first demonstrating border security, we will NEVER have border security,” Tancredo asserted.

“Second, if we have no border security and yet offer amnesty to all who succeed in violating those borders, it is tantamount to opening the gates to another 10 million unlawful entries tomorrow. We might as well stop debating the terms for amnesty legislation: it is simpler to hand out green cards to all applicants at the 200 or so foreign consulates scattered around the nation.”

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