The Republican presidential campaign has degenerated over the past few weeks into a finger-pointing contest over who has said what when about amnesty for illegals.
Second-tier candidate Jeb Bush joined the party by claiming he’s the only candidate with a consistent view on illegal immigration.
Except no one is really sure which position he’s been consistent with.
Jeb Bush boasted on more than one occasion over the weekend that unlike his competitors, he’s had a consistent view on illegal immigration and hasn’t tried to do the while explaining his position on the topics.
I’m in a ‘unique situation,’ he said at a Windham, New Hampshire, town hall. ‘I’ve had the same view for the last four years. I know that’s truly kind of remarkable in politics, cause now every body’s doing the “Curly shuffle” all the time.’
Bush’s brag flies in the face of his own changing position on the issue since 2012, when he said he supported a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and now.
Since running for president Bush has said he backs ‘a rigorous path to earned legal status.’
(For those of you not up on one hit wonder early 80’s novelty songs, Jeb must be referring to the Curly Shuffle by Jump in the Saddle for some reason known only to him).
Bush’s border security page on his campaign website doesn’t include the words ‘citizen’ or ‘citizenship’ anywhere.
Yet, he said, in a June 2012 interview on PBS, of illegal immigration: ‘You have to deal with this issue. You can’t ignore it. And so, either a path to citizenship – which I would support and that does put me probably out of the mainstream of most conservatives – or a path to legalization, a path to residency of some kind.’
He added, ‘I would accept that in a heartbeat, as well if that`s the path to get us to where we need to be which is on a positive basis using immigration to create sustained growth.’
That same year Bush penned a book with The Goldwater Institute’s Clint Bolick, the conservative think tank’s vice president of litigation, in which he reversed his position on citizenship.
The book, Immigration Wars, dropped the following March. In it, Bush and Bolick said, ‘Once immigrants who entered illegally as adults plead guilty and pay the applicable fines or perform community service, they will become eligible to start the process to earn permanent legal residency.’The ‘earned’ residency Bush described should be obtained only after illegal immigrants pay taxes, learn English and it has been verified they committed no ‘substantial’ crimes.
‘Permanent residency in this context, however, should not lead to citizenship. It is absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions have consequences—in this case, that those who violated the laws can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship,’ it explicitly states.
They go on to say that ‘to do otherwise would signal once again that people who circumvent the system can still obtain the full benefits of American citizenship. It must be a basic prerequisite for citizenship to respect the rule of law….A grant of citizenship is an undeserving reward for conduct that we cannot afford to encourage.’
Bush outlines the same ‘rigorous’ requirements on his Jeb 2016 website and says illegal immigrants can ‘over an extended period of time earn legal status.’
So four years ago, illegal aliens would be permitted to jump through some token hoops and be adjudged citizens while today Jeb! never uses the C-word.
‘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, I’m for it,’ he said. ‘I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t see you how you do it, but I’m not smart enough to figure out every aspect of a really complex law.’
He said there must be ‘a difference between a path to citizenship or a path to legalization’ otherwise the federal government will create ‘a magnet’ for additional waves of illegal immigration.
He admitted on CNN that day that he’s taken positions in favor of citizenship and legal status.
‘I have supported both, both the path to legalization or a path to citizenship with the underlying principle being that there should be no incentive for people to come illegally at the expense of coming legally,’ he stated.
The finagling was rated as a bonified ‘flip-flop’ by fact-checking website Politifact.
‘There’s no doubt, though, that the Jeb Bush in the book had a different opinion from the Jeb Bush on the book tour. We rate the flip-flop-flip claim True,’ it said in its verdict.
Given this context, it is truly laughable for Jeb! to accuse other candidates of changing their views based on politics.