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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Jeb Bush's immigration argument: Immigrants are more 'fertile'

Jeb Bush at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's "Road to the Majority" conference

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Jeb Bush at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's "Road to the Majority" conference



Saying "demography is destiny," Jeb Bush told a Faith & Freedom Coalition crowd this morning that "more fertile" immigrants are needed to help keep America's population young and sustain a healthy economy.

“Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans over the last 20 years," Bush said. "Immigrants are more fertile, and they love families, and they have more intact families, and they bring a younger population. Immigrants create an engine of economic prosperity.”

Bush's comments echoed what he said during a forum yesterday in Washington and were coupled with calls for more border security. But he thinks the best case for doing immigration reform is economic stability, saying other countries such as Japan and China are trying to find younger workers.

The message seemed to fall flat with the social conservative crowd, which applauded Bush's other points on education and energy independence.

A few nuggets:

On W: “I’m very proud that he has maintained a posture of not chirping on the sidelines.”

On family: “My life’s hope has come true. I’m a grandfather. I have a 22-month little munchkin called Georgia Helena Walker Bush. If you kind of get the initials you know where that comes from. I actually secretly call her 41 when I get to baby sit her."

On the GOP: "Let me just say we got beat because our brand is perceived to be tarnished. To be reactionary. To be too negative, rather than hopeful and positive. Increasing numbers of Americans are defaulting to a false choice of economic security through government because we haven’t offered really a compelling alternative based on economic opportunity. … Right now it seems like we’re focused fighting on what strain of conservatism should be dominant. I would argue the focus should be on how we govern again, which requires a broader, principled message. I believe our path to resurgence is through a hopeful, optimistic message based on conservative principles. … If we were to create a mission statement it would be something like this: How can we be an ever young country again through high sustained economic growth and how can we assure that all citizens, not just those who have already made it, have a chance to benefit from that growth."

[Last modified: Friday, June 14, 2013 12:19pm]


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