Bush Takes on National Review on Immigration

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, responded to National Review’s criticism of his position favoring a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants by saying: “I love you… I just think you are wrong on immigration”.

Unlike many politicians, who flip flop with the political winds, Jeb Bush keeps coming forward and staying consistent on his pro-immigration reform stance, which nowadays seems as an odd position within official and non-official pre-presidential Republican candidates. The National Journal even refers to Bush as “a moderate outlier” just for defending his immigration position versus an array of ideas coming from most of the other Republican pre-candidates, which are widely distant and critical of supporting a reform process which may include a pathway to citizenship. But support for immigration is not a “moderate position.” It was Ronald Reagan’s position.

Describing the exchange between Bush and the Reviews Rich Lowry, The National Journal reported that:

“That’s how you’re going to grow your economy, is bringing young, aspirational people in,” Bush said. “I think I’m right about this, and if we’re going to grow economically, then we better figure out how to fix this quick.”

Bush said President Obama wants to see reform delayed, so he can continue to use it as a cudgel against Republicans.[process that may include a pathway to  what has been one of his main talking points regarding Immigration on the Right to Rise PAC candidacy exploration visits.

“He uses this as a wedge issue, and we always lose,” Bush said. “We’re gonna turn people into Republicans if we’re much more aspirational in our message, and I think our tone has to be more inclusive as well.”

“I love you and I love National Review,” he added. “I just think you’re wrong on immigration, and you think I’m wrong.”

On this issue, Bush is definitely not navigating an errant sailboat; he has been resolute in clearly stating his views regarding an immigration system overhaul, demonstrating his clear understanding of how critical and important this issue is for the U.S. Hispanic population. His voice is resonating positively within the Latino community, not only because of his communication skills or his Hispanic family, but because he has portrayed himself as a person who really cares about the issues that are paramount to the community and has been honest in consistently expressing his ideas. All other candidates should take note.

Alfonso Aguilar is the executive director of American Principles in Action’s Latino Partnership.