Sen. Rand Paul said on television this past Sunday that America "can't invite the whole world" to enter the border, despite the love that outsiders may have for the American dream.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos," the Republican from Kentucky responded to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s statement that undocumented immigration was “an act of love,” not a felony.
"Yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony," Bush, a potential 2016 presidential contender, told Fox News in an interview. "It's an act of love."
Republicans cringed at the remark, with its “soft on immigration” implication that made no mention of border security.
"It's going to kill the Republican Party," said Al Hoffman, a Republican megadonor who chaired George W. Bush's presidential campaigns.
Paul echoed this sentiment during his television appearance Sunday.
"When you say they're doing an act of love, and you don't follow it up with 'but we have to control the border,' people think, 'Well, because they're doing this for kind reasons,' that the whole world can come to our country," he said.
"I don't want to say [Bush] is terrible for saying this," Paul told ABC's Jonathan Karl. "If it were me, what I would have said is, people who seek the American dream are not bad people. However, we can't invite the whole world."
Without saying that he agreed or disagreed with Bush, Paul said that the former Republican governor could have been "more artful, maybe, in the way he presented this."
Paul appeared to be choosing his words carefully to show empathy for the 11.7 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, a number that may be on the rise after holding steady during the last three years.