On Tuesday, former Florida governor Jeb Bush (Rep.) appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show and said that he now supports a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Bush, the brother of former president George W. Bush, made the surprising announcement in what appears to be a reversal of views on immigration.
In his new 304-page book "Immigration Wars" which is slated to be released on March 5th, the former governor argued against providing legal status for those who came to the United States illegally. An excerpt reads as follows:
It is absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions have consequences— in this case, that those who violated the laws can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship. To do otherwise would signal once again that people who circumvent the system can still obtain the full benefits of American citizenship. It must be a basic prerequisite for citizenship to respect the rule of law. But those who entered illegally, despite compelling reasons to do so in many instances, did so knowing that they were violating the law of the land. A grant of citizenship is an undeserving reward for conduct that we cannot afford to encourage.
However, during his March 5 MSNBC appearance, Bush said that he wrote the book last year and not this year. The Florida politician, who was once regarded as a potential presidential nominee within the Republican Party, now holds the view that undocumented immigrants should be able to obtain legal status in the U.S. "if you can craft that in law where you can have a path to citizenship where there isn’t an incentive for people to come illegally".
It's likely that Jeb Bush will face a backlash among conservatives in his own party. Florida is home to a large Hispanic population that have tended to vote for Democrats. In 2012, Florida's 29 electoral votes went to Barack Obama after the president barely defeated Republican nominee Mitt Romney by a margin of 50 to 49.1 percent.
Some speculate that Bush's change in position is designed to bring the battleground state back into the GOP fold in time for the 2014 mid-term congressional elections.
On Tuesday, Jeb Bush offered no other details on what he meant by stripping away incentives for illegals to come here. Some GOP lawmakers on the national and state levels have suggested that undocumented immigrants should be prevented from obtaining government entitlements (such as medical benefits), services, and other privileges (such as driver's licenses) in order to avoid a new wave of illegals crossing the Mexican border.
Others, including some Democrats, have proposed a much more robust E-Verify background check system to ensure that only eligible workers would be able to gain employment in America.
- Give law enforcement the tools they need to make our communities safer from crime, enhances our infrastructure and technology, and strengthens our ability to remove criminals and apprehend and prosecute threats to our national security.
- Provide visas to foreign entrepreneurs looking to start businesses here, helps the most promising foreign graduate students in science and math stay in this country after graduation, and reunites families in a timely and humane manner.
- Provide undocumented immigrants with a legal way to earn citizenship so they can come out of the shadows. It holds them accountable by requiring they pass background checks, pay taxes and a penalty, go to the back of the line, and learn English. It requires everyone to play by the same rules.
- Stop businesses from exploiting the system by knowingly hiring undocumented workers. It holds these companies accountable, and gives employers who want to play by the rules a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally.
See related articles on immigration reform:
- Obama proposes amnesty for 11 million illegals
- Immigration reform helps Democrats in future elections
Share your comments below.
*Note: Subscribe to Republican Examiner for updates