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Rand Paul: Reform Immigration, But Citizenship Not Possible Yet

The Republican senator tells "Meet the Press" host David Gregory host "“the status quo is untenable” and is urging conservatives to take up reform.
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Senator Rand Paul isn’t backing down on his call for immigration reform, despite its role in House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary defeat to a tea-party candidate.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the Kentucky Republican told host David Gregory that “the status quo is untenable” and challenged his fellow conservatives to talk seriously about immigration reform, but stopped short of advocating for a legal path to citizenship.

“Border security first, but then we should have something that allows people who want to work in our country who are here to say we will find a place for you if you want to work, we link it to work because as Republicans,” Paul said.

“At this point in time I don't think any type of immigration reform will get out of Washington that includes a path to citizenship. But I do think that there is a path to a secure border and an expanded work visa program,” Paul said.

In calling for a secure border, Paul referenced the humanitarian crisis in Texas, where up to 50,000 unaccompanied children have streamed across the border fleeing violence and unrest in Central America.

“I am for immigration reform, but I insist that you secure the border first because if you have a beacon, of some kind of forgiveness, without a secure border, the whole world will come,” Paul said.

Paul has continued to talk immigration reform in the weeks following Cantor’s primary defeat to Republican Dave Brat in Virginia.

Many have blamed the upset on outrage over Cantor’s willingness to bend on the immigration issue, like his support for a "Dream Act"-like proposal to provide a path to citizenship for children who were brought to the United States illegally.

— Phil Helsel