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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bush says he'd be for path to citizenship, though 'I don't see how you do it'



Jeb Bush, appearing on Morning Joe, slightly walked back his opposition to a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

“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," he said. "I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t see you how you do it, but I’m not smart enough to figure out every aspect of a really complex law.”

Bush isn't against citizenship. But in his new book, Immigration Wars, he and co-author Clint Bolick argue that the rule of law must be respected. People who arrived illegally as adults should be able to get legal status, they say, but if they want to become citizens they should return to their country and apply through a more open process under comprehensive reform.

Bush's position -- which he has been stressing was forged before some Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio, moved toward a more direct pathway -- has the potential to alter the debate on Capitol Hill. 

“I think Jeb's book could make it more difficult for Senate Republicans to sell citizenship to their caucus,” Becky Tallent, director of immigration policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told National Journal. “Jeb has always been considered a centrist on immigration.”


[Last modified: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 10:39am]


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