Bush: Obama "Doesn't Want Immigration Reform"
Jeb Bush warned Thursday that President Obama and Democrats would rather keep immigration reform as a political wedge issue than solve the problem — and that Republicans will always lose the political argument on immigration if the dynamic persists.
“By doing nothing, you have two things that happen, at least in the age of Obama,” the former Florida governor said during a National Review event in Washington, D.C. “You have a president who uses this ... as a wedge issue, and we always lose.
“Delaying this is what [Obama] wants,” Bush added. “He doesn’t want immigration reform.”
As Bush has traveled the country in preparation for a likely bid for president, he has been among the most vocal Republicans pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, even though the issue is anathema to some staunch conservatives.
That divide within the party played out as Bush discussed immigration reform onstage with National Review Editor Rich Lowry. The publication has been critical of Bush’s immigration stance, and a National Review headline from earlier this year asked: “Is Jeb Bush too enthusiastic about immigration?”
“I just think you’re wrong on immigration, to be honest with you, and you think I’m wrong,” Bush conceded to Lowry. “So, I respect you for it.”
Bush also disagreed with a remark by his likely opponent for the Republican nomination, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who recently promoted a “legal immigration system that’s based, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages,” which many took to mean Walker would limit legal immigration as president.
But, Bush said: “I don’t think it’s a zero sum game. It’s the wrong approach.” Bush has pushed for a legal immigration system that would encourage economic immigrants, likening it to football teams with top picks in the NFL draft.
“If we fix the legal part that is not working, we can grow our economy far faster, and we would be younger and more dynamic,” Bush added. “The world that some argue for is the world of declining population. It’s the world of Japan. It’s the world of Europe. I reject that.”