Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was confronted by an advocate for undocumented immigrants during a private event in Waukee this weekend.
As part of his first trip to Iowa after declaring that he may run for president, Bush went to a barbecue restaurant to meet with potential supporters earlier today and a woman there asked Bush, in Spanish, if he would “end” President Obama’s plan to defer deportation orders for young adults brought into the country illegally by their parents. Bush answered the woman in Spanish. Later, Bush told reporters it’s time to fix the immigration system by passing a law, not by presidential decree.
Bush also addressed the issue during his appearance at the Iowa Ag Summit this morning.
“I think we need to fix this broken immigration system,” Bush said. “…Immigrants that are here need to have a path to legalized status. No one I know has a plan to deal with illegal immigrants, to say that they’re going to be rounded up and taken away…What we need to do is to make sure that people pay fines, that they learn English, that they work, that they don’t receive government assistance, that they earn legalized status over the long haul.”
But first, Bush said, the border must be secured, foreigners who overstay their visas must be tracked down and an “E-Verify” system must give business owners the information they need to check the residency status of prospective employees.
“So that there’s confidence, moving forward, that legal immigration will be easier than illegal immigration because I think today a lot of people have bog doubts about that,” Bush said.
Bush also said it was time to end the legal model that allows “chain migration” of extended families and only allow a spouse and minor children to come join someone in America who has obtained some sort of legal residency here. After that contraction, Bush would expand the number of people he calls “economic immigrants” — people who are “guest workers” to fill temporary jobs as well as entrepreneurs.
“Canada has more economic immigrants than we do and they’re ten times our size,” Bush said.
According to Bush, those steps to expand “economic immigration” will make America “young and dynamic and growing again.”
Early this evening Bush made his first public “retail” campaign stop in Iowa, wading into a crowd of 150 who’d gathered inside a Pizza Ranch restaurant in Cedar Rapids. Bush said he was having “a blast” in Iowa and stressed his hope that the GOP would embrace an “optimistic” and “uplifting” message for 2016.