In comments that are sure to rile up the conservative base, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made clear in an interview this week that he opposes President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration not because of a difference on policy, but because of the way the president went about enacting the change.
During an on-stage interview on Monday night during the The Wall Street Journal CEO Council annual meeting, Bush was asked about his opposition to Obama’s sweeping executive action to unilaterally halt the deportation for five million illegal immigrants.
Gerald Seib of The Wall Street Journal: Is your problem with what the president did the substance of what he has proposed to do, or with the way he has proposed to do it?
Jeb Bush: It’s the way. First of all, I don’t know the exact details. I mean, frankly, he didn’t permanently change things because he doesn’t have anywhere near close that authority to do it. … He granted a deferral of the execution of the law for a couple of years. So these people are still in limbo. What we need to do is get to some certainty for people, the 11 million people that are here, five million of which he dealt with. We need to find some … give them some legal status and move to a system that is more economically driven.
After Obama announced his executive action last month, Bush likewise railed against him over the process: “President Obama’s ill-advised unilateral action on illegal immigration undermines all efforts to forge a permanent solution to this crisis. Action must come in the form of bipartisan comprehensive reform passed through Congress.”
If he runs for president in 2016, comments like these will likely be used against Bush in a primary by conservatives who strongly oppose a pathway to legalization.