As he seeks to position himself for a 2016 Presidential run, it is difficult to guess what Senator Rand Paul will say, or what position he will hold, from one day to the next. On immigration, Paul was against amnesty before he was for “comprehensive immigration reform” before he had serious reservations about the Gang of Eight bill before he decided he just might vote for it.

Anyone who is following Rand Paul’s political career understands that he walks a fine line between being a Tea Party rebel and an establishment Republican who can win the financial support of multinational corporations whose backing can be decisive for a serious run at the Presidency.

This was evident in his defense of Apple’s tax dodge, in which Paul tried to portray the expectation that a company that earns billions of dollars in profit in America should pay taxes in America as government “bullying”. The very next week, the Senator jetted off to Silicon Valley on a fundraising tour. Paul has vigorously supported increasing the number of foreign tech workers the computer industry uses to displace American workers and drive down wages. Paul’s defense of tax havens and his call for huge increases in guest workers sells quite well in Silicon Valley, where industry titans have traditionally been more generous to Democratic politicians.

It also appears that Paul recognizes that conservation is an issue that resonates with voters, unlike many of his Republican colleagues, who only use the word “environmentalism” as a pejorative. Speaking at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, Paul said that Republicans “care just as deeply about the environment as Democrats,” and that “I am a libertarian-conservative who spends most of my free time outdoors…I compost, I plant trees.” 

It is great that Paul does these things, but as a U.S. Senator he has the opportunity and the responsibility to do much more to protect the environment, starting with supporting the enactment of a sustainable immigration system.  If he continues to ignore the environmental and ecological consequences of adding over 50 million people to the U.S. population through the immigration system over the next ten years he is espousing the Al Gore brand of environmentalism – otherwise known as hypocrisy.