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The New York Times Stands With Rand -- On Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants, Anyway

The New York Times stands with Rand – on a pro-Democratic issue, at least. Times reporters snidely dismissed Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul's standing filibuster against Obama's drone policy on the March 9 front page, but Wednesday's lead story by Ashley Parker and Michael Shear saw Rand's comments on possible amnesty for illegal immigrants as foreshadowing a conservative cave-in: "G.O.P. Opposition To Migrant Law Is Falling Away – Eye On Hispanic Voters – Paul Is More Welcoming – Rising Chances for an Overhaul."

Republican opposition to legalizing the status of millions of illegal immigrants is crumbling in the nation’s capital as leading lawmakers in the party scramble to halt eroding support among Hispanic voters -- a shift that is providing strong momentum for an overhaul of immigration laws.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Tea Party Republican, on Tuesday became the latest to embrace a more welcoming approach, declaring to the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants that if they want to work in America, “then we will find a place for you.”

While he never uttered the word “citizenship” and said a secure border must come first, Mr. Paul strongly implied that citizenship would eventually be available to them.

Republican sentiment for a more liberal immigration policy has been building in the aftermath of last year’s election. But Mr. Paul’s comments provided strong new evidence that the rising generation of conservative leaders is turning against the Republican argument that those who enter the country illegally should be denied the chance to become permanent residents.

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But the political climate has moderated, and many Republicans are being forced to accept, if not outright embrace, some form of legalization for the illegal immigrants already in the country.