Jeb Bush says entering the U.S. illegally is often “an act of love” as much as it is a crime.
“There are means by which we can control our border better than we have and there should be penalties for breaking the law,” the former Republican Florida governor argued during an interview with Fox News’ Shannon Bream from the George H.W. Bush presidential library in College Station, Texas. “But the way I look at this — and this is not, you know, I’m going to say this and it will 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 family’s, you know, a dad who loved their children was worried that their children didn’t have food on the table. And they, you know, 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 kind of — it’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family.”
Bush, who says he will decide on a 2016 presidential run later this year, argued that those who cross the border illegally in search of a better life for their family should be differentiated from those “40 percent” of illegal immigrants who “come with legal visas and they overstay their bounds.”
“I honestly think that’s a different kind of crime that should be, there should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t be, it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families,” he said. “And the idea that we’re not going to fix this but with comprehensive reform ends up trapping these people when they could make a great contribution for their own families, but also for us. So I think we need to kind of get beyond the harsh political rhetoric to a better place. The great number of people who come here to this country come because they have no opportunities in other places. They may love their country, but they come here because they want to provide for their families. And they can make a contribution to our country if we actually organized ourselves in a better way.”