Thursday, February 2, 2012

Confused? Ron Paul said he doesn't support illegal immigration and said people who break the law should be punished. But he said he opposes any effort to round people up and ship them away

Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul outlined his views on immigration Wednesday, saying he favors a compassionate policy that doesn't rely on "barbed-wire fences and guns on our border."

Paul spoke to several dozen people organized by Hispanics in Politics, Nevada's oldest Hispanic community group. The Texas congressman has scheduled several days of campaigning in Nevada before the state's caucuses Saturday.

Paul went into much greater detail on immigration policy than he has at most of his campaign stops. He typically steers clear of discussing rights for specific groups of people, insisting that his libertarian-leaning views apply to everyone as individuals.

But in Nevada, which is 26 percent Hispanic, Paul outlined an immigration policy far outside the Republican mainstream.

Paul blasted politicians who blame immigrants for causing the country's economic problems. He compared the situation to Nazi Germany's targeting of Jews in the 1930s.

"When things go badly, individuals look for scapegoats," Paul said. "Hispanics, the immigrants who have come in, are being used as scapegoats."

Paul said he doesn't support illegal immigration and said people who break the law should be punished. But he said he opposes any effort to round people up and ship them away.

"If an individual is found to be breaking the law, serious consideration should be given for them to return. But I would think 99 percent of people who come here come because they believe in the American dream," Paul said to applause.

Paul decried a punitive border policy, which said offended his belief in individual liberty.

"The one thing I have resisted and condemned: I do not believe that barbed-wire fences and guns on our border will solve any of our problems," he said.

Paul also said he was against laws that require immigrants to carry proof of legal status. He says he doesn't want to live in a country where people are required to carry identity papers.

"You say, `Well, this is only for illegals.' That's a bunch of baloney," Paul said. "How do you sort out illegals from legals? Unless you put papers and identification on everybody."

Hispanics in Nevada have favored Democrats over Republicans in recent election years -- a full 74 percent of Hispanics supported President Barack Obama in 2008 over GOP rival John McCain.

But Fernando Cortes, Paul's director of Hispanic outreach in Nevada, said many Hispanic voters had shown interest in Paul's message.

"They're always pandered to by the left and ignored by the right," Cortes said of Hispanic voters. "They're very motivated by the wanting of freedom back and a sound economy.


Alabama's Immigration Law to Cost State Millions in Lost Taxes, Study Says

These studies are only as good as the assumptions behind them. One wonders if the sharp drop in Alabama unemployment was factored in

Alabama's new immigration law is likely to cost the state tens of millions of dollars in lost taxes, says a new study.

The report by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama would cause 70,000 to 140,000 undocumented immigrants to lose jobs and would cost about $1.2 billion to $5.8 billion in the earnings of those immigrants as well as $56.7 million to $264.5 million in lost state income taxes and sales taxes.

"The cost is quite certain," said the center's director, Sam Addy. "It's simple economics. If you have more people you have a bigger economy, less people a smaller economy."

A sponsor of the immigration bill, Republican Rep. Micky Hammon of Decatur, disputed the report. "It's clear the study overestimates the negative and underestimates the positive to skew the result toward an agenda," he said. "If 40,000 illegal workers leave the state, they free up jobs that homegrown Alabamians are happy to have."

Hammon said the state's lower unemployment rate proves the immigration bill is working. "It doesn't take a PhD to see that since the law was signed unemployment has dropped from 10 percent to 8.1 percent," Hammon said. "In Marshall County, once a known hotbed for illegal immigration, unemployment has plunged from 10 percent in June to 6.9 percent last month." Statewide, the unemployment rate has dropped from 9.3 percent to 8.1 percent since January, 2011.

The report found that the economic costs of the new law outweigh the benefits. The report listed benefits of the new law and saving state funds used to provide benefits to undocumented immigrants and making more employment opportunities available to legal residents. But the report said the costs to the state include hurting the state's economic development effort and the cost of implementing and enforcing the law.

The sponsor of the bill in the Senate, Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, said the study does not take into account that many immigrant workers send much of what the earn to family members back home. "It's our understanding that a tremendous amount goes out of state," Beason said. The study estimates that 20 percent of undocumented workers "send their earnings to their home countries."


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