In his book “Immigration Wars,” former Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush argued that undocumented immigrants should not be eligible for a path to citizenship — but in his roundabout book tour, he has acknowledged that what’s in his book differs from what he has been saying rather publicly.
On Sunday’s “This Week” on ABC, immediately following an appearance from Bush, Washington Post columnist George Will reacted to Bush’s “flexibility.”
“Everett Dirksen, the leader of Senate Republicans for many years said, ‘I have my principles and one of mine is flexibility,’ and Mr. Bush is flexible on treating the 11 million who are here already,” Will said. “The immigration debate today is occurring after two years in which net immigration from Mexico, which is the most important source of immigrants, has been approximately zero. Most important capital is not Washington, D.C. — it’s Mexico City, where they have their economy doing A, better than ours and B, being a magnet to help people stay there, so what we’re really arguing about is what to do about the 11 million illegal immigrants who are here already, and I think what we learned this week was any plan that does not envision as an end point citizenship for those is not going to work.”
Will’s co-panelist, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, wasn’t impressed with some of Bush’s policy solutions. But he said his evolving position is a positive development.
“You know, anyway, that was impressive,” Krugman said. “It’s an object lesson. I mean, he’s just shown us the perils of political pandering. He wrote a book for the immigration debate the way it was a few months ago and got caught flat-footed by the way it shifted. But, no, this is moving in a favorable direction. We seem to be moving toward some … this is one of those things that has been an amazing positive development. Most of these other things — I don’t think we’re getting anywhere on the budget.”