(CNSNews.com) - "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," says the "Immigration" section of Sen. Rand Paul's website.
But on Tuesday, in a speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Paul revealed an apparent change of heart: "If you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you."
The conservative senator from Kentucky, a likely 2016 presidential contender, said he wanted to start the conversation "by acknowledging we aren't going to deport" the millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. Paul said the way to bring conservatives "to this cause" is to put border security first."We must also treat those who are here already with understanding and compassion without also unduly rewarding them for coming illegally."
Here's what Paul's Senate website said about immigration, as of Tuesday morning, before Paul endorsed the idea of allowing illegal immigrants an eventual way to become citizens -- if Congress first agrees that progress is being made on border 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.