Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) is shaking things up in Republican Party politics. At the same moment that he is being discussed by some as a savior for the Party of Lincoln come 2016, he lays down this beautiful beat to a Fox News reporter at an event at his dad's presidential library:
"The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn't come legally … 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.
Bush, 61, added: "I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime. 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."
Read the whole account via Reuters.
What Jeb said.
If the GOP faithful cannot understand, empathize, and deal with the 12 million or so illegals in the country—except to tell them to get the hell out, build a wall that would have made Erich Honecker proud, and mandate a worker verification system that will be a nightmare on tech and constitutional grounds—they will forever write off the votes not simply of Latinos but most Americans. A 2013 Reason-Rupe Poll found that 70 percent of people favored letting illegals stay and get on a path to citizenship (55 percent), gain legal residency (4 percent), or become guest workers (11 percent). Of course they do: Even people who feel threatened by newcomers recognize that immigration isn't simply in the DNA of America, it is the DNA of America.
We've all heard the standard line: "I don't mind immigration, it's the illegal part of it I don't like." Each time a Republican says that without then explaining how they plan to expand legal immigration, you know that he is full of it on the immigration issue.
In fact, the Republicans are so full of it on this issue that they have come to embrace a nightmare mandatory program, E-Verify, that "turns work into a privilege and empowers the surveillance state." This comes after complaining (rightly!) about Obamacare's individual mandate and that law's reach into people's privacy.
At the same time, the Republicans have let a potent political issue to slip through their fingers. President Barack Obama is the worst president in terms of deporting immigrants, but he and the Democrats are getting a free ride on the issue thanks to the GOP's atavistic anti-Hispanic rhetoric (Iowa's Steve King, anyone?).
From yesterday's New York Times:
The records show the largest increases were in deportations involving illegal immigrants whose most serious offense was listed as a traffic violation, including driving under the influence. Those cases more than quadrupled from 43,000 during the last five years of President George W. Bush's administration to 193,000 during the five years Mr. Obama has been in office. In that same period, removals related to convictions for entering or re-entering the country illegally tripled under Mr. Obama to more than 188,000….
"For years, the Obama administration's spin has been that they are simply deporting so-called 'criminal aliens,' but the numbers speak for themselves," said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. "In truth, this administration — more than any other — has devastated immigrant communities across the country, tearing families away from loved ones, simply because they drove without a license, or re-entered the country desperately trying to be reunited with their family members."
If the GOP can't flesh out Rand Paul's pledge to illegals—if you want to work here, "we will find a place for you"—with a serious proposal, well, it was nice knowing them.
Must-read: Ed Krayewski's "5 Reasons to Grant Amnesty to Illegal Immigrants."