Jeb Bush on Immigration
Republican FL Governor; V.P. prospect
OpEd: Rational sympathy rather than economic logic
If Bush does run, it's likely that another passage in that Fox News interview will supply his detractors with some of the ammunition that they will use against him: "It's not a felony. It's an act of love."
Bush's position makes a lot of sense but
unfortunately--and he knew when he uttered those words--only one phrase will be remembered: "act of love." Suffice it to say that this son and younger brother of presidents will be endlessly mocked by many, if not most, conservatives for expressing what
will be depicted as a bleeding heart liberal's view of illegal immigrants. That Bush would campaign as an advocate for immigration reform--a position that is considered anathema by many in the Republican Party's grass roots--was never in doubt.
But what makes this a political gaffe of a sort is that Bush chose to make the argument for a rational approach to the fact that 12 million illegals are in the country by playing the sympathy card rather than an appeal to cold, hard economic logic.
Source: Commentary Magazine, "What's Love Got To Do With It"
, Apr 7, 2014
Illegal immigration is act of love: different kind of crime
There are means by which we can control our border better than we have. And there should be penalties for breaking the law. But the way I look at this--and I'm going to say this, and it'll be on tape and so be it. The way I look at this is someone who
comes to our country because they couldn't come legally, they come to our country because their families--the dad who loved their children--was worried that their children didn't have food on the table. And they wanted to make sure their family was
intact, and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony. It's an act of love. It's an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that
that is a different kind of crime that there should be a price paid, but it shouldn't rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.
Source: Fox News interview at George H. W. Bush Library
, Apr 6, 2014
FactCheck: Yes, immigrants are more fertile
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's comment "Immigrants are more fertile," sparked debate on twitter. Fertility can mean the ability to have children, but it can also refer to the birth rate of a population--and that's the way we evaluated Bush's statement.
Bush, speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference, made a pitch for immigration reform, saying America needs more new workers to help pay for retirees--"to rebuild the demographic pyramid" as he put it. "Immigrants are more
fertile," Bush said. "And they love families and they have more intact families, and they bring a younger population. Immigrants create an engine of economic prosperity."
Bush's words were on track, and we rate the statement Mostly True.
Source: PolitiFact fact-checking on 2016 presidential hopefuls
, Jun 18, 2013
My plan is legalization, not self-deportation
Q: What's the difference between that and what Mitt Romney was proposing last year, self-deportation, which you say in your book, made it almost impossible for him to get any Hispanic votes?
BUSH: The difference is that we are suggesting that there
be a path to legalization, that people that are here come out from the shadows. That is a far cry from telling people they have to go back to their home country. And the other thing I would say is that our proposal also says for children of illegal
immigrants, those who can't come here illegally that were children, that they should have a path to citizenship on a far faster basis. The so-called "DREAM Act" kids.
Q: But in terms of the path to citizenship, that is self-deportation, correct?
BUSH: No, it is not self-deportation; people can stay here. 60% of the people that were granted a process of legalization and citizenship in 1987 did not apply for citizenship. They stayed as legal residents of the country.
Source: Fox News Sunday 2013 interview of 2016 presidential hopefuls
, Mar 10, 2013
People come illegally because there's no legal path to come
Q; You don't want to encourage further entry by undocumented workers, is that correct?
BUSH: That's exactly right. The incentives that exist today are for people to come illegally because there's no path for them to come legally. We don't have a guest
worker program. We have lines that are so long, that in effect, there are no lines. If you--I mean, we have a lottery system where people actually put their names in. That's the reaction to our immigration system being so clogged up.
Q: This isn't
really about the pathway to citizenship, is it? Isn't this about what everybody has called the empathy gap? That people look at the Republican Party and they think mean old white guys, mainly.
BUSH: I think that immigration is a gateway issue for
people that have some part of the immigrant experience. It's a gateway issue if you can get past that, whether it's the empathy gap or actually having a positive agenda, then you have to make a case on a broader set of issues.
Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls
, Mar 10, 2013
Path to citizenship or path to legalization: both could work
Q: Politico wrote about your book: "Bush takes a U-turn on pathway to citizenship." Did you change your view on this?
BUSH: My view has been that, in order to get comprehensive reform, we could take either path; either a path to citizenship or a path
to legalization. The important point is that illegal immigrants should not get better benefits at a lower cost than people that have been waiting patiently. So assume we pass the law this year--and I hope that's the case--five years from now we should
Source: Meet the Press 2013 series on 2016 presidential hopefuls
, Mar 10, 2013
Reform must make it easier to come legally than illegally
Q: For years you supported a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Now, according to your book, you no longer support that, but support a path to legal residency. Why have you changed?
BUSH: I haven't changed.
The book was written to try to create a blueprint for conservatives that were reluctant to embrace comprehensive reform, to give them, perhaps, a set of views that they could embrace.
I support a path to legalization or citizenship so long as the path for people that have been waiting patiently is easier and costs less, the legal entrance to our country, than illegal entrance. The worst thing that we could do is to pass a set of
laws and have the exact same problem we had in the late 1980s, where there was not the enforcement and it was easier to come legally than illegally.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 series: 2016 presidential hopefuls
, Mar 10, 2013
6-part proposal for comprehensive immigration reform
A Proposal for Immigration Reform
Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush,p. 12-62
, Mar 5, 2013
- Fundamental Reform: Comprehensive interrelated approach because system as a whole is broken, and to achieve bipartisan consensus.
- A Demand-Driven Immigration System: Replace overriding preference
for family reunification with work-based immigration.
- An Increased Role for the States: Share federal authority over immigration policy [such as] social services and providing benefits.
- Dealing With Current Illegal Immigrants:
We propose a path to permanent legal resident status for those who plead guilty to having entered our country illegally as adults and who have committed no additional crimes of significance.
- Border Security: Broader immigration reform is
an essential component of border security; we can't do one without the other.
- Toward a More Vibrant Future: Getting immigration policy right will allow us to reclaim the prosperity that in recent years has eluded our grasp.
There is no realistic pathway to citizenship for most people
Some people are allowed to become legal residents automatically, even if they do not work and will consume enormous social services. (Indeed, some immigrants are forbidden from working!) Others who would contribute a great deal have to wait decades for
a visa, if they can get one at all.
Of the many serious and legitimate criticisms that can be leveled against our current immigration system, two in particular stand out in terms of hugely detrimental impact:
There is a single major explanation for both problems: our immigration policy is driven by an overriding preference for family reunification, which in turn is very broadly defined.
Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p. 17-19
, Mar 5, 2013
We are not bringing in highly skilled immigrants in sufficient numbers to meet our needs and to maximize future American prosperity.
- There is no realistic pathway for most people who simply wish to become American citizens.
Limit family reunification: no siblings nor parents
Our immigration policy is driven by an overriding preference for family reunification. Unlike every other country, in America family members of existing immigrants account for a large majority of new lawful entrants into our country, crowding out most
When parents & siblings are given immigration preference, their entry in turn creates an entitlement to other extended family members to gain preference as well--a phenomenon called "chain immigration."
In terms of cost/benefit analysis,
extended family members typically do not produce the economic benefits that work-based immigrants do, and they impose far greater costs.
We propose limiting guaranteed admissions to spouses and minor children of US citizens. Reuniting married couples
and their children is the essence of family reunification. By contrast, siblings and parents cause substantial chain immigration because their children, siblings, and parents then receive guaranteed admission preference as well.
Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p. 18-21
, Mar 5, 2013
Treat illegals with compassion but also rule of law
We need to treat those who have settled in our country illegally with compassion and sensitivity, yet without sacrificing the rule of law that is vital to our national fabric.
The wholesale amnesty granted in the 1980s promoted the first of those values while abandoning the second, with the all-too-predictable result that millions more illegal immigrants came into the country.
This time, we need to vindicate both core values
On one hand, we should try to put ourselves in the shoes of people who have entered the country illegally: they often faced impossible economic circumstances in their native countries, with a bleak future for themselves and their families,
yet had no realistic process of immigrating lawfully to this country. On the other hand, allowing people to immigrate illegally without consequence while millions of others wait to enter through lawful means in manifestly unfair.
Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p. 40-41
, Mar 5, 2013
Path to legal resident status: pay fines & no criminals
It is in no one's interest for illegal immigrants and their families to live in the shadows. We need everyone to participate in the mainstream economy, to pay taxes, to participate openly in their communities, to be willing to report crimes--
that is to say, to be accountable, responsible members of society. That cannot occur when people fear they will be arrested if their immigration status is known.
We propose a path to permanent legal resident status for those who entered
our country illegally as adults and who have committed no additional crimes of significance. The 1st step in obtaining that status would be to plead guilty to having committed the crime of illegal entry, and to receive an appropriate punishment
consisting of fines and/or community service. Anyone who does not come forward under this process will be subject to automatic deportation, unless they choose to return voluntarily to their native countries.
Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p. 42-43
, Mar 5, 2013
Secure border as component of reform, not as prerequisite
Many on the right say that we must secure the border before we do anything to reform our immigration system. The fact is that we can't do one without the other.
Although border security is an essential component of broader immigration reform, broader immigration reform also is an essential component of border security.
Demanding border security as a prerequisite to broader immigration reform is a good slogan but elusive on the details and measurements. What do advocates of such an approach mean by "operational control" of the border?
That not a single immigrant will cross illegally? That no illegal drugs will cross the border? That no terrorists will enter our country? What exactly is the magic moment we must wait for before we can fix the broken immigration system?
Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p. 48
, Mar 5, 2013
To become citizen, pass exam in English and civic history
Assimilation into American culture may begin long before people even enter our country. But assimilation into the American identity--the values on which our nation is based and the constitutional mechanisms designed to perpetuate them--ultimately is far
more important yet a much more difficult task.
To become citizens, immigrants must demonstrate fluency in English and pass an examination on basic American civics and history. There are 100 possible questions, from which 10 are asked of prospective
citizens. Answering 6 out of 10 questions constitutes a passing grade.
We believe that should not be enough to earn citizenship. Instead, aspiring citizens should be able to demonstrate a fundamental understanding of our nation's values and mechanisms
of democracy. Thus we would expand the civic knowledge necessary for citizenship to include our nation's founding documents, the crucial role of a market economy in promoting freedom and prosperity, and the means and importance of civic preparation.
Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p. 58-59
, Mar 5, 2013
Illegals can't "wait in line"; there is no line to wait in
There is one reason above all others that we have millions of illegal immigrants: because there is no lawful avenue for them to enter the country. Unless they receive one of the small number of seasonal work visas or high-skilled worker visas, or unless
they are a postsecondary student or a relative of lawful residents, there is simply no mechanism by which they can lawfully emigrate to the US. Saying "they should wait in line like everyone else" is hollow because there is no line in which to wait.
The days in which people could lawfully emigrate to the US just because they wanted to pursue the American Dream are as much a memory as is Ellis Island. If we do not provide a lawful mechanism for immigration for such people, we can expect a continued
flow of illegal immigration during good economic times, no matter how many fences we build or how many obstacles we place in their path.
Emphatically, the best solution to illegal immigration is a viable system of legal immigration.
Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p.114-115
, Mar 5, 2013
Objections to more multiracial America are misplaced
Even if we did nothing on immigration policy, immigration would continue to impact America. In 2011, for the first time, fewer than half of all children born were non-Hispanic whites. US residents who were born in foreign countries number about 39
million, or roughly 12.5% of the nation's people, not much different than in times past.
What the demographics mean is that Americans will grow increasingly multiracial. Reform opponents raise the same tired arguments their predecessors raised for
centuries: that the newcomers will not assimilate; they won't learn English; they are disproportionately criminal, welfare-dependent, and subversive of American values. History repeatedly has proven those objections misplaced. Where would we be if we had
allowed those arguments to prevail in the 19th century or at any time since then? Certainly, we would not be the most powerful, prosperous, and generous nation on earth. Nor will we continue to be if we allow those arguments to prevail today.
Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p.139-141
, Mar 5, 2013
GOP wooed Hispanics in 2004; but alienated them by 2012
Bush chastised fellow Republicans for alienating Latinos with anti-immigration rhetoric. "In the 15 states that are likely to decide who control the White House and the Senate in 2012, Hispanic voters will represent the margin of victory,"
Bush wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. "For the Republican Party, the stakes could not be greater. Just 8 years after the party's successful effort to woo Hispanic voters in 2004, this community--the fastest-growing group in the US--has drifted away."
Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.222
, Jun 19, 2012
Education reform more critical than immigration reform
The export of knowledge-driven industry is a far greater threat to our prosperity than illegal immigration, which seems to dominate the news and political discourse.
Without a pipeline of homegrown talent to fuel growth, the lure of cheaper labor, lower operating costs, and less government regulation outside the U.S. will be difficult to overcome.
Source: Mike Thomas Blog, Orlando Sentinel
, Jan 11, 2011
Pray for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, not AZ law
Jeb Bush and his gang are interested in the type of reform his brother pushed that includes tighter borders and a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already in the nation. Here's what we received:
Conservative Leaders Call on Congress, President to Act on Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Hundreds of conservative grassroots advocates will join a nationwide strategy call with key business and
Evangelical leaders to share convictions around the need for immigration reform this year and discuss plans for moving the issue forward.
Conservative leaders will provide an update on the fallout from last week's passage of
Arizona's divisive immigration law and pray for a solution to the moral, economic & political crisis caused by our broken immigration system. Speakers will also share strategies for breaking the stalemate in Congress to move immigration reform this year.
Source: Paul Bedard in US News and World Report, "Jeb Leads Fight"
, Apr 28, 2010
1980s: Voter registration for 88,000 naturalized Hispanics
In December 1983, Jeb formally became Dade County's most influential Republican player, the county party chairmanship. Now, a county chair in politics is somewhat like a college education--it is what you make of it. Jeb made a lot of it, putting in place
a recruitment program to boost the party's registered voter roll in Dade County.
Between Dec. 1983 & Dec. 1986, the number of Republicans climbed from 150,651 to 238,520, a 58% increase, while the number of registered Democrats actually declined from
425,559 to 422, 205. Certainly, this was to an extent just taking advantage of existing conditions. Miami Cubans had been angry at the Democratic Party ever since President Kennedy had [abandoned] the Bay of Pigs invasion.
Still, Jeb deserves credit
for following through with the grunt work part of the operation. His goal was to register all newly naturalized Hispanics, not just Cubans, as Republicans, and he was extraordinarily successful in this, helped by his by-then fluent Spanish.
Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p. 78
, Feb 15, 2007
Speaks Spanish; husband and father of Hispanics
Jeb, in his run for governor in 1994 told the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida at an Orlando campaign appearance: "I am the husband of a Hispanic,
I am the father of 3 beautiful children who have Hispanic blood running through their veins, my business partner and 75% of the former team members of my business are Hispanic."
In Miami, Jeb didn't need Columba's ethnicity to connect with the Hispanic majority.
His ability to speak the language and, perhaps even more important, his long and deep support of Miami's virulently anticommunist foreign policy essentially made Jeb an honorary Cuban.
Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p.191
, Feb 15, 2007
Share costs of legal immigration between states & federal.
Bush adopted the National Governors Association policy:
The Governors urge Congress to consider the following principles regarding immigration policies.
- The decision to admit immigrants is a federal one that carries with it a firm federal commitment to shape immigration policy within the parameters of available resources we as a nation are determined to provide.
- The fiscal impact of immigration decisions must be addressed by the federal government. The states, charged with implementing federal policy, have shared and are sharing in the costs; however, there should be no further shift of costs to the states.
- A basic responsibility of the federal government is to collect and disseminate timely and reliable statistical information on immigration and its consequences for the United States.
- Federal immigration policies should ensure that new immigrants do not become a public charge to federal, state, or local governments.
- The federal government must provide adequate information to and consult with states on issues
concerning immigration decisions that affect the states.
- States should not have to incur significant costs in implementing federal laws regarding immigration status as a condition of benefits.
The Governors urge the following regarding Legalization and Naturalization:
Source: NGA policy HR-2: Immigration and Refugee Policy 01-NGA3 on Feb 15, 2001
- States require maximum flexibility in determining and allocating resources to meet the needs of newly legalized aliens.
- The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) must be diligent in its efforts to ensure that felons are not naturalized and being given the benefits of citizenship rather than being deported.
- The naturalization process should be streamlined to be more efficient and accessible to eligible applicants wishing to become citizens, with all the rights and responsibilities thereof.
- The INS must take aggressive action to eliminate the backlog of naturalization applications, which is now approximately 800,000 nationwide.
Federal government should deal with criminal repatriation.
Bush adopted the National Governors Association policy:
[Regarding illegal immigration], the Governors continue to call on the federal government to negotiate and renegotiate prisoner transfer treaties to expedite the transfer of criminal aliens in the United States who are subject to deportation or removal. The negotiations for such agreements should focus on:
- ensuring that the transferred prisoners serve the balance of their state-imposed prison sentence;
- removing any requirement that the prisoners consent to be transferred to their countries of origin;
- structuring the process to require that the prisoners serve the remainder of their original prison sentence if they return to the United States; and
- considering economic incentives to encourage countries of origin to take back their criminal citizens.
Additionally, the Governors believe the federal government should:
- increase the use of interior repatriation with countries contiguous to the United States;
- place INS officials in state and local facilities for early identification of potentially deportable aliens - nearer the point of their illegal entry - to ensure formal deportation prior to release; and
- upon the request of a state Governor, place INS officers in state courts to assist in the identification of criminal aliens pending criminal prosecution.
Finally, the Governors are concerned about the large number of deported felons that are returning to the United States. A significant number of the criminal alien felons housed in state prisons and local jails are previously convicted felons who reentered the United States after they were deported. The Governors urge the federal government to provide sufficient funds for proven positive identification systems, like the Automated Fingerprinting Identification System (AFIS), to allow for the expanded use of these systems in the rest of the nation.
Source: NGA policy HR-2: Immigration and Refugee Policy 01-NGA4 on Feb 15, 2001
Import farm workers from Mexico.
Bush signed the Southern Governors' Association resolution:
Source: Resolution of Southern Governor's Assn. on 2002 Farm Bill 01-SGA6 on Sep 9, 2001
- Whereas, agriculture, which has critical importance in the South not only to our economy, but to our regional and cultural identify and way of life, is facing rapid changes in technology and an increasing global economy; and,
- Whereas, the cost of government commodity programs has varied in recent years between $5 billion and $26 billion in nominal terms, and removed acreage from production thus reducing the cost effectiveness of the program; and,
- Whereas, global trade is crucial to the survival of American agriculture, calling for fair application and enforcement of current and future trade agreements to secure a level playing field for exporters of U.S. food and fiber; and,
- Whereas, agricultural labor shortages, complicated by U.S. federal immigration policy, continue to plague the South, now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Southern Governors’ Association, with respect to the 2002 farm bill, urges Congress
and the Administration to:
- Make commodity program payments, production agreements, limitations, and quotas, belong to and follow the producer, rather than the landowner — taking care not to violate WTO agreements;
- Continue Loan Deficiency Payments and marketing assistance loans to protect farmers against price levels below the Marketing Loan rate.
- Enact agricultural federal tax incentives — reducing local property taxes for small producers in high tax areas — so farmers can continue to farm rather than sell land for other uses as well as other tax provisions for environmental/conservation improvements, agriculture research and donations of commodities to charitable organizations;
- Work together to ensure fair application of current and future trade agreements that will open the door to new foreign markets;
- Implement a farm labor system, based on the agreement between Canada and Mexico, which will provide an orderly, efficient way to import farm workers.
Page last updated: Sep 19, 2014