Lays the groundwork for presidential run in 2016
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul flip-flops on immigration, pitching a pathway to citizenship before Hispanic business leaders in Washington Tuesday.
"The conversation needs to start by acknowledging that we aren't going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants," Rand told the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
"If you wish to live and work in America, then we will find a place for you," he said.
Paul's immigration position comes a day after the RNC expressed its support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and could be an important and influential moment for immigration reform and the 2016 GOP White House race.
Conservatives argue any path to legal status amounts to amnesty, but GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak says this is the balancing act Republicans face heading into 2016.
"The immigration issue is a gateway issue with Hispanics, and for too long we haven't been able to get inside the gate to make the argument," Mackowiak tells KTRH News. "We realize with the Hispanic population exploding all over the country, we've got to do that."
Mackowiak admits Republicans may be placating to Hispanics, but he says they need to at this point.
"We should not have lost seven out of 10 Hispanic voters in 2012," he says. "And we cannot afford to do that in 2016 or Democrats will keep the White House."