Rand Paul Returns to Steve King’s Table

So the great Man of Principle, Sen. Rand Paul, who is forever proclaiming himself pro-immigration, has now made it clear he supports House legislation shutting down the DACA program.

You can argue this is a lot less shocking that Sen. Marco Rubio’s recent shift in exactly the same direction, insofar as Rubio was actually working on legislation similar to DACA when that initiative was launched. Any way you look at it, the GOP has lurched radically in a nativist direction since that long-lost day when the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill with support from 14 Republicans. Even then, the disjunction between Paul’s rhetoric and behavior was notable–he voted against the bill largely crafted by Rubio (who has since repudiated it).

Brother Benen underlines the implications for Paul’s reputation:

[T]his latest posture will permanently ruin the senator’s relationship with much of the Latino community. By endorsing the reactionary House package, Paul isn’t just focusing on migrant children who recently fled Central America; he’s specifically endorsing a plan that targets Dream Act kids for deportation. We’re talking about youngsters who’ve been here for years and who see the United States as the only home they’ve ever known.

So much for the candidate of “minority outreach.” You now have to wonder why Rand Paul bothered to leave Steve King’s table when America’s leading nativist was confronted by DREAMers–unless he was embarrassed by his own future positioning.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.