Ron Paul’s Immigration Conspiracy Theory

On Wednesday, Ron Paul continued his push against immigration reform with an email promoting a conspiratorial video released in May by the Campaign for Liberty, the former Texas congressman’s 501(c)(4) nonprofit. In the video, Paul warns, without evidence, that “it’s only a matter of time before ‘ID scans’ will be required to travel, attend public events, or even make routine purchases.” Paul also claims that the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Eight immigration bill is a sneaky collaboration with President Barack Obama to create “by far the worst national ID scheme the statists have come up with yet.”

The video was first posted to YouTube in May, and Paul’s anti-immigration views are no secret. But the new email is notable given that Ron Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), has said he could support the Senate bill if it includes an amendment addressing Republican concerns about border security. Rand Paul has said repeatedly that he supports immigration reform, but he has expressed concerns about a national ID system and wants the bill to include triggers that would restrict immigrants’ path to citizenship if certain border security goals aren’t met. But he hasn’t echoed his father’s most conspiratorial claims.

“Not only does this bill increase federal spending,” the elder Paul says in the video, “it mandates every American carry a national ID card with their photo and creates a new federal database containing biometric information on every American, such as fingerprints and retinal scans. The card would be required for all US workers regardless of place of birth, making it illegal for anyone to hold a job in the United States who doesn’t obtain an ID card.”

That’s not true. In reality, the Senate bill explicitly prohibits a national ID card. Some privacy advocates have argued the bill would create a de facto national ID system by requiring mandatory electronic employment checks against a federal database containing some biometric information, such as fingerprints and photographs. Ron Paul goes much further than the privacy groups, though, arguing, “This is exactly the type of battle that often decides whether a country remains free or continues down a slide to tyranny.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend