You might figure a guy like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) would have to be a bit conflicted on the immigration issue. Give his father’s identity, he’s probably been exposed to every pro-immigration argument ever made. Libertarians are, by and large, pro-liberalized immigration for all the obvious reasons. But he represents Kentucky, and occupies the seat once held by Jim Bunning, whose big winning ad in his own first successful race featured a Hispanic voice thanking his opponent for a pro-NAFTA vote with: “Muchas gracias, Senor Baesler!”

So I find this Paul quote from an interview by Christian Right figure Bryan Fischer that appeared in Politico today especially interesting:

“You can’t have open borders in a welfare state. We’ve got a pretty significant welfare state, so it’s not just about normalizing the 11 or 12 million here, it’s whether or not while you’re doing that another 11 or 12 million come in, and I think that will bankrupt the country,” Paul said.

He continued: “So I am concerned, but I’m also open-minded enough to say that it is an issue that we do need to evolve on.

So Paul doesn’t seem to be as upset as many conservatives about the threats to the Rule of Law or the Traditional Culture of liberalized immigration, but instead is worried about the Taker faction getting new allies. It’ll be interesting to see how often and how loudly this argument is made.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.