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Rand Paul Says He'd Probably Stop Giving Cubans Special Immigration Status

Under current law, Cubans who come to the U.S. are given an quicker path to permanent legal status than other immigrants.

Posted on September 22, 2015, at 1:52 p.m. ET

Charlie Neibergall / AP

Rand Paul said on Monday that he would probably end America's current policy of giving Cuban immigrants a quick path to permanent legal status and "just make the policy consistent with the rest of immigration policy."

The Republican presidential candidate made the comment in response to a question from Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson, who asked whether the rule of giving "automatic sanctuary status" to Cubans who migrate to the United States -- a rule Mickelson called a "legacy of the Cold War" -- was "likely to change."

Paul said he would be surprised if the policy changed, but suggested that, given the power, he would change it.

"There's a great inertia on change in policy," the Kentucky senator said. "The President's changing some policy with regard to Cuba but most of the policy that does linger from the Cold War I think will probably remain until there's sort of a political election where people say they're ready for it to change. I'd probably at this point just make the policy consistent with the rest of immigration policy."

Under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, Cubans who reach the United States can become legal permanent residents after one year even if they don't meet normal requirements for a green card.

In the interview, Paul added that, while he would dispose of this policy, he thinks that "ultimately capitalism will overwhelm Cuba when the Castros are gone."

"My hope is that they will see so much of flow of products from America that it will overwhelm them with wanting to be like us," he said.

Paul has previously clashed with fellow GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio over his support for lifting the trade embargo with Cuba.

Rubio, whose parents are Cuban immigrants and who opposes lifting the embargo, argued in December that, when it comes to America's policy on Cuba, Paul "has no idea what he's talking about."

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