Jeb Bush started his book tour this week to promote his new book, Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution, with Clint Bolick, and immediately ran into a brick wall. On Morning Joe, Jeb almost immediately walked back on one of the central premises of the book; that illegal immigrants would be allowed to become legal residents, but not US citizens.
“So going forward — we wrote this last year — going forward, if there is a difference, 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, I’m for it… I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t see how you do it, but I’m not smart enough to figure out every aspect of a really complex law.”
In other words, Bush pulled the legs out from under his own book. That was the quickest retreat from a book since former Bush Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill did a 60 Minutes interview promoting his book, which criticized the Bush administration; then went on the Today Show the very next day and backtracked on every single point from his book.
Jeb Bush has always been one of those open borders-let-every-illegal-in guys like his brother and most of the Republican establishment. So he’s always been in favor of a path to citizenship. So it was very odd that he came up with this book in which he supports merely legalization (like Newt Gingrich), rather than full citizenship.
Of course, the book was written last year, and what was the news about immigration last year? It was the Republican primaries, and the guy with the toughest immigration policy, Mitt Romney, won the Republican primaries. So it seems pretty obvious to me that Jeb was writing a book to appeal to Republican Primary voters. My suspicion is that he never really switched positions, and that the purpose of the book was to present him as being in favor of a position to the right of what he actually expected to happen. By the time we get to the 2016 race, Immigration will more than likely be a done deal, and probably along the lines that Obama wants. No border security (to keep the illegal’s coming) and a path to citizenship. So Bush could claim to have opposed (using the book as proof) Obama’s plan, but hey, it’s already passed, Whatcha gonna do?
Jeb was the former governor of my State of Florida, so the man is no stranger, and as a governor, he was a very good governor; one of the better ones that Florida has had. But as governor he had no control over Federal immigration policy. As President (and this book seems to be step one for the 2016 race), no matter what he has written in his book, he would be as open borders / full citizenship on the issue as President Obama is.
In other words, he is totally untrustworthy on the issue of immigration. No matter what he says, if he gets the chance, he’ll knock the fences down and shoot green cards over the border with T-Shirt cannon.