Parsing Jeb

Florida Governor Jeb Bush seems to be working through his position on amnesty and immigration.

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Florida Governor Jeb Bush seems to be working through his position on amnesty and immigration: on NBC’s Today Show, Bush shut the door on a path to citizenship for illegal workers, on NBC’s Nightly News, he cracked the door back open.

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On the Today Show, Bush said that his proposal, which is laid out in his new book Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution, “Looks forward…we can’t continue to make illegal immigration an easier path than legal immigration. There’s a natural friction between our immigrant heritage and the rule of law. This is the right place to be in that sense.”  Later in the day Bush seemed to recalibrate a bit, telling NBC’s Chuck Todd on Nightly News, “If there is a path to citizenship that has enough of a realization that we have to respect the rule of law, so be it.”

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NBC’s First Thoughts urged readers not to make “too much” out of Bush’s opposition to citizenship, for the following reason:

As Bush points out, he was working on this book well before that bipartisan group produced its immigration framework containing a path to citizenship. “Remember this is a proposal that we attempted to put out prior to the election, to create a consensus for conservatives to actually get in the game,” Bush said in his interview with NBC News.

Immigration Wars, debuting today, was heavily anticipated by a Wall Street Journal op-ed Jeb Bush and his co-author, Clint Bolick, wrote in January.  In it Bush and Bolick said that a path to citizenship will “will help us meet workforce needs, prevent exportation of jobs to foreign countries and protect against the exploitation of workers.”

Update. Jeb Bush today on Morning Joe:

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The principle underlying what we’ve proposed is that if you don’t have a difference between a path to citizenship or a path to legalization, you’re going to create a magnet going forward for more illegal immigrants…

So going forward, we broke this last year — going forward, if there is a difference, if you can craft that in law where you can have a path to citizenship where there isn’t an incentive for people to come illegally, I’m for it. I don’t see how you do it, but I’m not smart enough to figure out every aspect of a really complex law. But I think the premise should be — this should be a forward leaning immigration reform. What’s it going to look like five years after you pass the law? Five years after you pass the law, you want aspiring immigrants to come to rebuild our demographic base. You want people to come that have skills that can make a difference to jump start our economy, and you don’t want to have a repeat of the last 30 years where you have more people coming in illegally and waiting in line, or no line at all, to come legally.