Yesterday, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush released a six part immigration plan. Surprisingly, all six points focused solely on immigration enforcement and border security measures.
While he bookends his six point plan with mentions of a rigorous path to earned legal status, his intent is clearly to establish hawkish bona fides as the Republican primary season kicks into high gear. This is not the first instance of Bush moving to the right on immigration. Recently, he has backtracked on a path to citizenship, pledged to end both the DACA and DAPA executive action programs in the first three months of his presidency, and embraced the GOP’s vacuous “secure the border first” excuse.
The following is a reaction from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
“We expected Jeb Bush to be a straight-talking leader on immigration reform. After all, he did say he’d be willing to ‘lose the primary to win the general.’ But instead of standing up for comprehensive immigration reform and arguing that the only way to fix any part of our nation’s broken immigration system is to fix all of it, he’s sliding further to the right and emphasizing security and enforcement. In doing so, he’s becoming more of an artful dodger than a forthright leader.
“By downplaying the interlocking elements of comprehensive immigration reform and spending copious amounts of ink on enforcement, it’s clear that Bush is trying to appeal to skeptical primary voters. Yes, he’s leaving himself a bit of wiggle room in hopes he can shift in the general election and emphasize the more immigrant and immigration-friendly elements of his reform plans. But this is political calculation, not bold leadership. In fact, it’s exactly the type of political shape-shifting that voters are tired of. If Bush wants to run as a true immigration reformer in the 2016 election, he has to do it the whole time, not just a few months before the election.
“Mitt Romney’s experience should be a cautionary tale: if you go right in the primary, you could end up being so defined by that lurch. With some three quarters of the American people in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, and Latino, Asian-American and immigrant voters enthusiastically supportive, Bush would be better served by showing a little more Presidential-style courage and a little less Trump-driven fear.”