He was a strong advocate right until the early 90s when he turned into a qualified opponent of immigration.
“My approach to immigration is somewhat different than the others. Mine is you deal with it economically We're in worse shape now because we subsidize immigration. We give food stamps, Social Security, free medical care, free education and amnesty. So you subsidize it, and you have a mess. Conditions have changed. And I think this means that we should look at immigration differently. It's an economic issue more than anything. If our economy was in good health, I don't think there'd be an immigration problem. We'd be looking for workers and we would be very generous."
Dec 23, 2007, Interview with NBC’s Tim Russert in the NBC’s 2007 "Meet the Candidates" series
“There’s an incentive for a lot of our people not to work, because they can get welfare. Then there’s a lot of incentive because they know they’re going to get amnesty. We gave it to the illegals in the ‘80s. Then, we put mandates on the states to compel them to have medical care. And you say, well, that’s compassionate. What happens if the hospital closes and then the people here in this country don’t get medical care? So you can’t divorce it from the economics. You’ve got to get rid of the incentives. No amnesty. No forced benefits. It just won’t work if you try to see this in a vacuum. You have to deal with it as a whole, as an economic issue as well.
Jan. 5, 2008, speaking at the 2008 Republican primary debate at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire
"One side says use the US Army, round them up ship them home. The other side says give them amnesty... The first choice—sending twelve to fifteen million illegals home—isn't going to happen and shouldn't happen… if each case is looked at separately, we would find ourselves splitting up families and deporting some who have lived here for decades, if not their entire life, and who have never lived for any length of time in Mexico. This would hardly be a Good Samaritan approach to the problem. It would be incompatible with human rights."
Page 153 from Paul’s 2011 book, Liberty Defined
Paul believes that the 14th Amendment is ripe for an... amendment.
"...birthright citizenship, originating in the 14th amendment, has become a serious cultural and economic dilemma for our nation… No other wealthy, western nations grant automatic citizenship to those who simply happen to be born within their borders to non-citizens. These nations recognize that citizenship involves more than the physical location of one’s birth; it also involves some measure of cultural connection and allegiance. In most cases this means the parents must be citizens of a nation in order for their newborn children to receive automatic citizenship…
I’ve introduced legislation that would amend the Constitution and end automatic birthright citizenship. The 14th amendment was ratified in 1868, on the heels of the Civil War. The country, especially the western territories, was wide open and ripe for homesteading. There was no welfare state to exploit, and the modern problems associated with immigration could not have been imagined…
Our founders knew that unforeseen problems with our system of government would arise, and that’s precisely why they gave us a method for amending the Constitution. It’s time to rethink birthright citizenship by amending the 14th amendment."
October 2, 2006, Ron Paul in his Texas Straight Talk column, ‘Rethinking Birthright Citizenship’
•U.S. Mexico Border Fence
“There was an immigration bill that had a fence in it, but it was to attack amnesty. I don’t like amnesty. So I voted for that bill to stop the amnesty, but I didn't like the fence. I don't think the fence can solve our problem. I find it rather offensive.”
December 12, 2007, Interview with ABC’s John Stossel on ABCNEWS.com