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Bobby Jindal has been having a bit of a rough time lately. Once considered a rising star in the GOP (who could ever forget that State of the Union rebuttal?), Jindal has consistently ranked in the bottom five of GOP Presidential candidates in most polling.
So maybe that’s why Jindal took it upon himself to pick a fight with Jeb Bush earlier this week — except Bobby probably made a bit of a boo-boo when he decided to make immigration the topic of conversation.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal accused rival Jeb Bush on Wednesday of backing “amnesty” in the former Florida governor’s interview with MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart – even though Jindal’s own rhetoric on the issue sounds nearly identical.
“During a recent Spanish-language interview with Telemundo, Jeb Bush called for amnesty for those who are in our country illegally,” Jindal wrote in a fundraising email to supporters. ”I wish I could say I’m surprised. But Jeb Bush has been clear and consistent about his belief that Republicans have to be willing to ‘lose the primary to win the general.’ We just disagree about that.”
The e-mail goes on to say the government “should not and must not reward those who came to this country illegally.”
It’s not clear where the two differ on the topic, however – both have called for legal status for undocumented immigrants and Jindal has explicitly called for a path to citizenship, something Bush backed in the past but now says he doesn’t support.
As Sarlin states, while Jindal and Bush both parrot the usual GOP talking point (SECURE THE BORDER!), both favor granting legal status to some immigrants, and Jindal even takes it a step further by saying some immigrants could gain citizenship (Jeb has seemingly flipped on the issue):
Bush said he wanted to bolster border security, crack down on visa overstays and grant legal status to undocumented immigrants who “get a work permit,” “pay taxes,” “pay a small fine” and “learn English” and “don’t get benefits from the federal government” for “some time” afterwards.
Jindal, by contrast, wrote that he wanted to bolster border security and offer undocumented immigrants a chance to “gain legal status rather quickly” if they “don’t engage in criminal activity” and forgo federal benefits. They could then become citizens if they “are willing to gain proficiency in English, pay a fine, and demonstrate a willingness to assimilate” and “work here and pay taxes for a substantial period of time after obtaining legal status.”
As Sarlin writes, for the most part, “their position on what to do with undocumented immigrants currently in the country is extremely similar, right down to the nitty gritty details of what requirements they would have to meet to obtain legal status.”
Jindal’s beef, according to a spokesperson, is that “Jeb and others have consistently put the cart before the horse here by advocating for amnesty for illegals…we’ve always said that border security must be our only focus.”
But as Sarlin states, “if Bush’s crime is prematurely ‘advocating for amnesty,’ however, then Jindal’s point-by-point proposal for a path to legal status and then citizenship would seem to qualify too.”
“Welcome to the messy world of Republican immigration politics, where nothing is what it seems.”