Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during a press conference at the Presidential House in San Salvador, El Salvador February 18, 2004. Bush is on a tour in Central American countries to promote the investments and the commercial exchange between the region and the state of Florida. (Photo: Reuters/Luis Galdamez)
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose name is also being touted as a 2016 presidential contender, has addressed the need for "comprehensive" immigration reform in an op-ed that appeared in Friday's Wall Street Journal.
Bush co-authored the piece with Goldwater Institute attorney Clint Bolick as part of a preview for their upcoming book, Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution. The duo's approach to immigration reform will most certainly run afoul to some conservative leaders who for years have fought any approach to immigration reform short of deporting the estimated 12 million illegal men, women and children in the U.S., and building 30-foot, electrified walls to prohibit border crossings.
First on their list is getting Congress to admit that immigration is not as much a law enforcement issue as it is a result of antiquated and outdated laws. "The nation has changed dramatically since the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, and that legislation has not held up well," write Bush and Bolick. "It has been patched over so many times that it is hopelessly complex and incoherent. We need to start from scratch."
Another point they highlighted was the argument used by critics of immigration reform in suggesting the way to solve the crux of the problem is simply for those wanting to immigrate to get in line for legal visas. "There is no line," they say.
Current laws pertaining to immigration is based on an annual "diversity lottery," that rewards about 55,000 lucky winners of a random lottery the chance to come and legally work in the U.S. There are approximately 250 applicants for each spot.
However, the issue that appears to be a thorn in the side for both Democrats and Republicans is the subject of amnesty. At what point do Congress and the White House agree that those who are in the U.S. illegally can be granted citizenship?
"The U.S. must find a fair way to deal with its 11 million illegal immigrants without sending the message that America's laws can be broken with impunity," the pair wrote. "Crossing the border illegally must have consequence. At the same time, we must recognize that children who were brought here illegally have committed no crime and in most instances know no other country."
Others topics and questions raised include addressing the ever-changing nature of border security, the reality that the U.S. needs workers of all types, especially those with high-skills in science and technology.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R), another Floridian whose name is mentioned as a future presidential contender, will also be at the forefront of the immigration debate, as will Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).
Bush's and Bolick's book is expected to be released in March and is being published by Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster.
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