I’d heard that that presidential candidate Ron Paul was “hard line” on immigration and “to the right” of the Republican field. But that’s not exactly what he revealed during my interview with him. Here’s Part 4 of my edited interview.
You want a 700-mile fence between our border and Mexico?
Ron Paul: Not really. There was an immigration bill that had a fence (requirement) in it, but it was to attack amnesty. I don’t like amnesty. So I voted for that bill, but I didn’t like the fence. I don’t think the fence can solve a problem. I find it rather offensive.
What should we do?
Get rid of the subsidies. (If) you subsidize illegal immigration, you get more of it.
Get rid of welfare?
All the welfare benefits.
Including government-paid health care?
So what should a hospital do if an illegal immigrant shows up for treatment?
Be charitable, but have no mandates by the federal government. Catholics want to help a lot of these people. I’m not for (punishing anyone who wants to help voluntarily). But we wouldn’t have so many (illegals) if they didn’t know they were going to get amnesty. If you promise them amnesty — medical care, free education, automatic citizenship, food stamps, and Social Security — you’re going to get more (illegal immigration). I think we could be much more generous with our immigration. (But) we don’t need to reward people who get in front of the line.
We should be more generous in our legal immigration policy?
(Without the welfare state) it would be a non-issue. Today it’s a big issue because people are hurting; they can’t keep up with paying their bills. They see (illegals) using food stamps, in the emergency rooms, demanding bilingual education in the schools. The costs are going up.
So get rid of all those programs? Every one?
I would. Get rid of the incentives and work toward a real solution.
You oppose “birthright citizenship,” which says that the child of an illegal immigrant who gives birth in America is a U.S. citizen. But that right to citizenship is in the Constitution, isn’t it?
There’s confusion on interpreting the 14th Amendment. It says that if you’re under the jurisdiction of the United States, you have a right to citizenship if you’re born here. But it’s a little bit confusing. If you step over the border and you’re illegal, are you really under the jurisdiction? There’s a question on that, and I want to clarify it. I don’t like to reward people who sneak in for that purpose and get on the welfare rolls.
What about the millions who are here illegally already? Should we deport them?
I don’t think anybody could find them. Nobody even knows how many there are. But if they come for welfare benefits and you know they’re illegal, (you should) deny them the benefits. If they commit a crime, send them home. Today in many cities, you’re not even allowed to ask them their immigrant status. Policemen tell me they can’t ask that question to find out if they’re illegal. It’s politically incorrect to ask a person his immigrant status because that would (be like saying), “If you’ve broken the law, maybe you ought to go home.”
How do you see immigration in the future?
If we have a healthy economy, we would probably have a lot of people coming back and forth working in this country. There was a time when (immigrants did that). That was when they didn’t expect to get easy amnesty.
Next week: Ron Paul on sex, drugs and civil liberties.