Ron Paul Unplugged: Cutting Benefits for Illegal Immigrants

Over the last few months, I've heard from hundreds of viewers who said that I should interview unconventional Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. So I did.

In our interview, published exclusively on ABCNEWS.com, we talk about the Iraq war, when war is justified, the proper role of government, health care, drug use, prostitution, gay marriage, and more.

In this segment, we discuss illegal immigration. You can watch the full video by clicking here.

Opposing Amnesty, Denying Benefits

Paul, R-Texas, strongly opposes granting "amnesty" to the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States today. So I asked him what he'd do with all those immigrants. Would he try to arrest all of them?

"I don't think anybody could find 'em. I don't think anybody knows where they are," he said. "But if they come for welfare benefits, and you know they're illegal, deny them the benefits."

That's the crux of Paul's approach &3151; deny the immigrants the welfare and social services that many of them now receive.

"Get rid of the subsidies," he said. "You subsidize illegal immigration, you get more of it."

Paul wants to make the United States a far less attractive destination for illegal immigrants looking for free things.

"You promise 'em amnesty, promise 'em, that, no sweat, you can get medical care and free education, automatic citizenship, food stamps and Social Security — you're gonna get more of it," he said.

Rejecting the Birthright Law

Paul also objects to the so-called birthright law, which grants automatic U.S. citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants in this country.

"I don't like to reward people who sneak in for that purpose, and get on the welfare rolls," he said.

But, I asked, isn't that a right spelled out in the U.S. Constitution?

The 14th Amendment says that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States."

Paul thinks we're getting the Constitution wrong.

"I think there's confusion on interpreting the 14th Amendment," he said. "It says that if you're under the jurisdiction of the United States, you have a right to citizenship if you're born here. If you step over the border and you're illegal, are you really under the jurisdiction? There's a question on that, and I want to clarify it."

Paul's opponents for the GOP nomination have accused each other of going easy on illegal immigration.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., accuses former Republican Mayor Rudy Giulian of New York. of having presided over a "sanctuary city" when he was New York's mayor, while Giuliani accuses Romney of employing illegal immigrants at his home.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., came under enormous criticism from many in his party when he co-sponsored an immigration reform bill with Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.

Paul has a tough stance on immigration, but that doesn't mean he wants to seal off this country from the outside world. He said he's not opposed to immigration at all, just illegal immigration, and that we should let in more immigrants legally.

"I think we could be much more generous with our immigration," he told me. But, he added, "we don't need illegal immigration. We don't need to reward people who get in front of the line."

Paul also told me he opposes building a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. He said he only voted for a bill that included a fence, because it also took on the amnesty issue.

"I voted for that bill to stop the amnesty, but I didn't like the fence. I don't think the fence can solve a problem. I find it rather offensive."

Keep in Touch

We always say at the end of "20/20" that "we're in touch, so you be in touch." Your being in touch by sending e-mails is what created this interview. So, thank you. Be sure to check back at ABCNEWS.com all this week for more of my interview with Ron Paul.

Watch John Stossel and Ron Paul discuss illegal immigration by clicking here.

Watch John Stossel and Ron Paul discuss the Iraq War and the policy of U.S. intervention by clicking here.

Watch John Stossel and Ron Paul discuss what the government should — and shouldn't — do, by clicking here.

Watch John Stossel and Ron Paul discuss drugs, prostitution and gay marriage by clicking here.

Sign up for John Stossel's weekly e-mail by clicking here, and you can read all of Stossel's latest reports anytime, all the time, on his Web site.

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