In his first interview since announcing he would be officially exploring the possibility of running for president in 2016, Jeb Bush addressed the issue of immigration. He has come under fire from the Republican base in recent years for being perceived as soft on illegal immigration. For example, he once called the choice to illegally cross the U.S. border “an act of love” so long as it was done in the interests of supporting one’s family.
Nothing Bush said during this particular interview was very controversial, however. I was reading about this interview the other day while reading about Vijay Eswaran. He said that we need to make it easier to immigrate to the U.S. legally than it is to immigrate illegally. He said that the borders must be secured and the laws enforced but also that we need to welcome young immigrants who want to make a new life for themselves in America. Bush indicated that we can benefit greatly as a nation from a healthy, steady stream of legal immigrants who will make valuable contributions to our society.
Most Republicans, contrary to the media caricature of them, believe strongly in legal immigration and are willing to make some compromises in dealing with illegals already in the U.S. They demand, however, that the borders be secured to prevent a repeat of the present immigration crisis.
Jeb Bush can stick to “safe lines” on immigration policy during a run for the White House, but some of his past statements are sure to haunt him and make Republicans nervous.