Immigration has consistently been a hot-button issue for GOP primary voters, and candidates like Scott Walker are already shifting to hardliners in an attempt capture those votes.
One candidate, however, continues to walk a fuzzy line.
In Iowa for an agricultural event over the weekend, Jeb Bush told an audience that undocumented immigrants in the US need “to have a path to legalized status.”
But when confronted by DREAMer Monica Reyes at a local restaurant, Bush said he wants to dismantle both DACA and DAPA if elected to the White House.
An English-language transcript of their interaction:
Monica: Will you prioritize the termination of the DACA and DAPA programs?
Gov. Bush: DACA is… Which one is DACA?
Monica: You said that you would undo President Obama’s overreach. Are you referring to DACA and DAPA?
Gov. Bush: Exactly, and pass them as a law instead of how it has been done.
Monica: So you do have plans to end DACA and DAPA.
Gov. Bush: DACA is, which one… the one that deals with Dreamers. We ought to give Dreamers priority towards citizenship, but through a law not through a decree – something a Latin American dictator would do.
Monica: But you would terminate the programs. So a person like me who qualified for DACA would be left out and without any opportunities.
Gov. Bush: No. What I am saying is that – I wrote a book – this is totally illegal [DACA & DAPA]
Monica: Yes, but, you recently said that you would dismantle both programs [DACA & DAPA]
Gov. Bush: Exactly, and pass a bill that would allow for a permanent solution. What DACA does it that it only allows for 2 year (status). That makes no sense.
At CPAC, Bush said ending President Obama’s executive actions would be his number one priority. Of course, in Bush’s party, the most contentious executive actions involved immigration, so it’s critical for him to clarify his view.
Bush’s inconsistent comments on Saturday only seem to make his position all the more unclear. According to Bloomberg, Bush deflected the DACA/DAPA question from reporters, too:
When reporters asked Bush later to clarify if he would repeal immigration-related executive actions such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents before a law could be passed, the former Florida governor sidestepped the question.
Will Jeb Bush keep DACA and DAPA in place until he’s able to pass legislation? Will he end the programs? If, for example, Bush undoes DACA, what would happen to those hundreds of thousands of young people who have work permits while they are waiting for legislation to pass?
These aren’t hypothetical questions. These impact the lives of real people, their families and their communities. We need to hear real answers.