Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been talking a lot about evolution of late, and on Wednesday encouraged his Republican colleagues to apply that behavior to their thinking on immigration reform and toward improving their reputation with minority groups.
Speaking with Christian conservative radio host Bryan Fischer, Paul said that he understood concerns over the recent push for comprehensive immigration reform by a bipartisan group of senators and President Barack Obama. He argued that border security should be an integral part of any overhaul effort in order to prevent the U.S. from becoming a "beacon" for undocumented immigrants seeking benefits. But Paul also suggested it was time for the GOP to change its broader resistance to any immigration reform blueprint not primarily focused on enforcement and building fences.
"But I'm also open-minded enough to say that it is an issue that we do need to evolve on," Paul said. "But I'm not willing to be so much in adapting that I believe you allow people to come in without having a secure border and without not letting people get to the front of the line."
Earlier in the interview, Paul responded to a question from Fischer over his recent statement that the GOP needed to "evolve and adapt" or risk becoming a permanent minority party.
Paul said the party needed to "change the perception" that it was unfriendly to African-American and Latino voters. The senator then urged Republicans to "show up" at meetings of these groups so that they would no longer be seen as "hostile" to minorities.
Paul has been a leading voice of critical reflection on the GOP's platform in the wake of devastating losses suffered by the party in 2012. Thought of as an early potential 2016 presidential candidate, Paul has encouraged Republicans to broaden their appeal by adjusting their tone and even tempering some of their positions.