Striking a more moderate tone than his 2012 Republican presidential rivals, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, Wednesday told Hispanic voters in Nevada that tough border enforcement was not an effective immigration policy.
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, Paul said at a gathering organized by the Nevada community group Hispanics in Politics.
That stance represents a sharp break from the other Republicans seeking their parties nomination, who have all said securing America's border with Mexico is their first priority when it comes to immigration. It also represented something of a reversal for Paul. The immigration section of his Web site makes securing the border paramount, saying we must do whatever it takes to control entry into our country, and a campaign advertisement invoked the need to protect America by securing our borders.
The advertisement goes on to say America should focus on its borders in lieu of acting as the world's policeman, spending trillions on nation building overseas. Paul spelled-out his immigration platform in a similar framework on Wednesday, telling his audience that the United States needed to redirect its resources to domestic problems.
If we want more immigration services and a fairer system and make it more efficient, why don't we take the moneys we're wasting trying to settle the problems between the borders, between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Paul said. Bring those troops home and use those resources to have a much more efficient system here at home.
Paul also suggested that the shaky economy has led many struggling Americans to unfairly blame immigrants.
I believe Hispanics have been used as scapegoats, to say, they're the problem instead of being a symptom maybe of a problem with the welfare state, Paul said. In Nazi Germany, they had to have scapegoats to blame, and they turned on the Jews.