Yesterday Florida's former governor, Jeb Bush (R), said that many people who come to the U.S. illegally do so as "an act of love." Bush made the comments at an event marking the 25th anniversary of his father's presidency.
Bush's comments below:
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.
Analysis and Commentary
Over at The Daily Caller Mickey Kaus, who calls Bush's comments on immigration "seemingly jejune," considers why Bush said what he did:
1) He's running in 2016 and thinks he can compensate for giving amnesty to all the illegal border crossers (mainly from Mexico) by cracking down and even deporting visa-overstayers (who aren't so much from Latin America). It's a weak attempt to appease immigration hawks–but it's also a double-pander to many Latinos, who (rightly) resent politicians who talk about building a Southern fence while ignoring the visa-overstay problem. Clever! I don't think the immigration hawks will be fooled, though, since Bush also endorsed the Gang of 8 bill, which legalizes instantly while postponing enforcement until later.
2) He's not running, but he's making space for Marco Rubio. Look at it this way: The GOP establishment is desperate to suppress Tea Party conservatives and also obtain the immigration amnesty they believe will win Latinos and relieve them of the need to do too much rethinking in other areas. The problem for the establishment is lack of candidates. Rubio was a favorite, but he sabotaged himself among core Republican primary voters with his disingenuous, flip-floppy championing of the Gang of 8?s bill. That left Christie–but then Christie got caught in a traffic jam. That left Jeb, probably the establishment's original choice–but it turns out that Jeb is still a Bush, and even the Bushes are sick of the Bushes. That leaves … well, Rubio again. Maybe he can be rehabilitated in time for the primaries! How? Hmm. Well, if Jeb takes a stand way far out in a squishy idealistic pro-amnesty direction, that creates space for his quondam protege, Rubio, to stake out a position that's seemingly tougher–e.g. "Jeb's off base there. Saying it's an 'act of love' obscures the very real problems illegal immigration can cause, which is why I am strong on border enforcement, etc." Of course Rubio would still be for amnesty, and the establishment would know this. But it might help smuggle him through the primaries.
Bush has said that he will decide on whether he will run for president in 2016 by the end of this year.
National Journal's Emma Roller writes that Bush's comments set him apart from other possible Republican 2016 contenders:
Coming out in favor of comprehensive immigration reform would set Bush apart from virtually every potential contender in the Republican presidential field—perhaps with the exception of fellow Floridian Marco Rubio. As Philip Rucker and Robert Costa have reported, power players within the Republican Party are working to draft a Bush 2016 ticket (Bush has said he'll make a decision by the end of 2014).
This is not the first time Bush has voiced his support for immigration reform. He originally supported a path to citizenship, but has since toned down his position—most notably in a book he released last year. Instead, Bush has advocated for looser visa laws for families, increased visas for technically skilled workers and entrepreneurs, and a path to citizenship for children brought into the U.S. illegally.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), another possible 2016 contender, recently said that the Republican Party needs to "get beyond deportation."
Rand Paul said Tuesday it's critical for Republicans to broaden their message on immigration to the Latino community if the party is going to have a chance at gaining support from the politically imperative group in future elections.
"We're not just the party of deportation. We got to get beyond deportation to get to the rest of the issues," the senator from Kentucky said at a Latino media forum in Washington.
Paul, a potential 2016 contender, has been open about his presidential ambitions.
This year, Paul has taken his libertarian-leaning message to longtime Democratic strongholds, pushing for a more inclusive Republican Party in the wake of President Obama's 2012 re-election victory over Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Reason on Immigration
Writing about Bush's recent comments Reason's Nick Gillespie says that if the GOP can't get a grip on the immigration issue they risk losing support from most Americans:
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.
Reason's Ed Krayewski listed five reasons to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants in February last year. They are:
Immigration Is Good for the Economy Illegal Immigrants Already Pay Taxes Most Illegal Immigrants Are Otherwise Law-Abiding Immigration Is a Natural Right There Are Too Many Illegal Immigrants To Do Anything Else Watch Reason TV's video featuring Reason Foundation senior policy analyst Shikha Dalmia on "5 Reasons Why Low Skilled Immigrants are Good for the Economy" below: