Former Florida governor – and potential GOP presidential candidate – Jeb Bush said this week that a pathway to citizenship should not be a component of an overhaul of the nation's immigration system.
Bush, a Spanish-speaker who's wife is Mexican-born, has long-been viewed as one of the more liberal-minded GOP leaders when in comes to immigration policy, warning Republicans for years that they oppose significant reform at their own political peril.
But in a Monday interview with NBC's “Today," Bush advocated for a system in which the millions of immigrants living in the country illegally be given the option of attaining permanent residency, but not eventual citizenship.
“There has to be some difference between people who come here legally and illegally. It’s just a matter of common sense and a matter of the rule of law,” he said. “If we’re not going to apply the law fairly and consistently, then we’re going to have another wave of illegal immigrants coming into the country.”
That position puts him to the right of another Floridian and potential 2016 presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R), who is part of the bipartisan group of eight senators pushing for an immigration overhaul that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
That's a complete reversal on Jeb's previous position, and he solidifies that in his new book on immigration out this week:
In a new book, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) makes a notable reversal on immigration reform, arguing that creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would only encourage future unauthorized immigration.
"It is absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions have consequences -- in this case, that those who violated the law can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship," Bush and lawyer Clint Bolick argue in a new book, Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution. "To do otherwise would signal once again that people who circumvent the system can still obtain the full benefits of American citizenship."
If I'm Team Rubio, I'm flipping tables and lighting them on fire. Jeb Bush just backstabbed Rubio for what may be fatal damage. How does Rubio survive any sort of primary for 2016 when he's now to the left of arguably the most moderate GOP candidate around?
Answer is, he doesn't. But this massive flip-flop also burns Bush.