Jeb Bush Flips And Flops On Amnesty

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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Republican presidential aspirant Jeb Bush has different positions on amnesty depending on which audience he’s talking to.

Bush visited New Hampshire this weekend and discussed his amnesty position at a business roundtable held at Integra Biosciences. In front of the business crowd, Bush supported a path to “legal status” for illegal immigrants — a buzzword for non-citizenship that would allow illegals to work for companies that want cheap labor.

“The best plan, the most realistic plan, the grown-up plan, once you control the border … is to say, ‘Let these folks achieve, earn legal status,'” Bush said. “If we just keep people in the shadows, we’re not going to solve our immigration problems.”

But sometimes Bush supports a path to outright citizenship, like when he was in New York City chatting up PBS host Charlie Rose.

“You have to deal with this issue. You can’t ignore it,” Bush told Rose in 2012. “And so, either a path to citizenship, which I would support and that does put me probably out of the mainstream of most conservatives; Or a path to legalization, a path to residency of some kind.”

But wait a minute. In 2013, he outright blasted citizenship in his book “Immigration Wars.”

“Permanent residency in this context, however, should not lead to citizenship,” Bush wrote with a co-author. “It is absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions have consequences — in this case, that those who violated the laws can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship. … A grant of citizenship is an undeserving reward for conduct that we cannot afford to encourage.”

But wait a minute. Then he said on MSNBC that his book was old and that he’s actually for citizenship.

“We wrote this book last year, not this year, and we proposed a path to legalization, so anybody that had come illegally would have immediately a path to legalization,” Bush said. “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 have a problem with that.”

He also said on CNN in 2013 that he has supported both options, presumably at different times.

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Patrick Howley