02 February 2012

Republican outsider outlines controversial US visa policy

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Texan Congressman Ron Paul, a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, has outlined his own US immigration policy for the first time in the race.

American immigration

Ron Paul may be unlikely to secure the Republican Party's nomination but his views are in stark contrast to his opponents'.

While Mr Paul is trailing far behind in the wake of frontrunners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, he has taken advantage of Mr Romney and Mr Gingrich's presence in Florida to campaign for longer in the next state to hold its primary, Nevada where he took the opportunity to go into greater detail about his US immigration policy.

Speaking to a group of Nevada residents organised by the Hispanics in Politics community group, Mr Paul explained that while he didn't support illegal immigration, he opposed rounding up people for deportation and that he felt his fellow politicians' attempts to blame America's problems on immigrants was akin to Nazi Germany's persecution of Jewish people.

"When things go badly, individuals look for scapegoats," said Mr Paul. "Hispanics, the immigrants who have come in, are being used as scapegoats."

Mr Paul did not state that he would open the country’s borders and grant every entrant a US visa but he did criticise current border policies which involve armed guards and heavy fencing.

"I would think 99% of people who come here come because they believe in the American dream.

"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."

Mr Paul has been reluctant to go into detail about his immigration policies due to his own libertarian beliefs which he states apply to every individual and not just US citizens.

However, Republican nominee favourite Mitt Romney's announcement that he would require all migrants to carry identification to determine their legal status has been criticised by Mr Paul.

"You say, 'well this is only for illegals.' That's a bunch of baloney. How do you sort illegals from legals unless you put papers and identification on everybody."

Mr Paul is unlikely to make enough headway in the race to secure the nomination but Fernando Cortes, Mr Paul's director of Hispanic outreach in Nevada, said many Hispanic voters in the state, which is over 25% Hispanic, showed great interest in Mr Paul's message.

"[Hispanics] are always pandered to by the left and ignored by the right," said Mr Cortes. "They're very motivated by the wanting of freedom back and a sound economy."

The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.

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