Jeb Bush, a long-time middle of the road Republican on immigration reform, has spoken out against a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
The pathway to citizenship for immigrants already living in the U.S. is a central provision of the immigration reform bill currently being considered by Congress. Yet, Bush said on Monday that the pathway to citizenship will only encourage continued illegal immigration, and that a pathway to legal permanent residency is the best compromise.
"Our proposal is a proposal that looks forward. And if we want to create an immigration policy that's going to work, we can't continue to make illegal immigration an easier path than legal immigration," Bush said in an interview on the "Today" show. "I think it is important that there is a natural friction between our immigrant heritage and the rule of law. This is the right place, I think, to be in that sense. Not to take away people's rights."
Bush is currently promoting his newly-released book, Immigration Wars, which he co-authored with conservative attorney Clint Bolick. The book describes what they believe to be the best solution to the immigration problem.
Bush, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, is leaning a little more to the right that he did during the 2012 presidential campaign season, when he criticized Mitt Romney for opposing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
The current bi-partisan Senate proposal on immigration would offer a temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. who apply to the program. It would then require the applicants to pay back taxes, learn English, and pass a criminal background test. Then, if the requirements are met, the applicants would get issued a green card, and eventually citizenship if certain border security measures are enhanced along the U.S.-Mexico border with the immigration proposal.
Bush, however, is claiming that full citizenship is unnecessary and would encourage more illegal immigration. Immigrant-right groups wholeheartedly disagree with this stance, claiming that disallowing citizenship would create a group of second-class citizens.
Source: ABC News