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Jeb Bush, Having Misread the New Politics of Immigration, Begins Damage Control Effort on Path to Earned Citizenship

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It is safe to say that Day One of the immigration book media tour for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush did not go exactly as planned.  Numerous observers condemned Gov. Bush for walking back on his past support for citizenship and called it a politically damaging flip-flop.

Today, Gov. Bush said he would support an earned citizenship provision, provided that other conditions were met as part of an immigration overhaul.  In an interview aired on Monday’s “NBC Nightly News” with NBC Political Director Chuck Todd, Bush said, “I think we need comprehensive reform, and if there is a path to citizenship that has enough of a realization that we have to respect the rule of law, then so be it.”  Similarly, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today, Bush expressed conditional support for citizenship: “if you can craft that in law where you can have a path to citizenship where there isn’t an incentive for people to come illegally.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Yesterday, Gov. Bush misread the political moment.  He failed to fully grasp the new politics of immigration that have emerged since the 2012 elections, and evidently missed the memo that a growing number of Republicans now support reform with a path to citizenship.”

Added Sharry, “An earned path to citizenship has become the mainstream position in the debate (see new Fox News poll, for example).  And while Bush’s initial endorsement of ‘legalization, but not citizenship’ damages his reputation as a principled leader on immigration reform, we will keep an open mind as he continues his book tour.  We urge him to be clear that he supports a way for undocumented immigrants to work their way towards citizenship and to distance himself from the offending sections of the book and the botched early rollout.”

Concluded Sharry, “The politics of immigration sure have changed.  For the longest time, Jeb was waiting for many in the Republican Party to catch up to him.  Now it’s time for Jeb to catch up to many of them.”

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.