Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who said that illegal immigration is an “act of love” that should not “rile” up Americans, now believes most of the illegal immigrant children from Central America should be sent back.
But he also called for Congress to use the border crisis to pass comprehensive amnesty legislation.
In a Thursday Wall Street Journal op-ed with Clint Bolick, Bush concedes that “few of these children are likely to return home if nothing changes” because of a 2008 law that prevents the United States from immediately deporting illegal immigrant children from countries other than Mexico and Canada. He also notes that nearly half of the illegal immigrant children released with “notices to appear” do not show up to their court hearings and only 2% have ultimately been sent back. There have been nearly 60,000 illegal immigrant children who have unlawfully entered the country since October of last year, and federal officials expect at least 150,000 more to enter in the next fiscal year.
“We must close loopholes that allow for individuals to be released from federal custody between hearings,” Bush wrote. “Except for those deserving few who may demonstrate true cause for asylum or protection from sex trafficking, these children must be returned to their homes in Central America.”
But he also urged Congress to “demonstrate leadership” on the border crisis by passing amnesty legislation.
“Congress should not use the present crisis as an excuse to defer comprehensive immigration reform,” Bush said.
Bush, who has pushed amnesty legislation while considering a 2016 presidential run, called for Congress to “rebuild” the country’s immigration system into one that is more “economically driven” and making it easier for those in Central America to get visas. Other amnesty advocates like Bill Gates have even called for an unlimited number of guest-worker visas in various sectors, which the Congressional Budget Office said would contribute to lowering the wages of American workers.
He also urged the country to send a message to Central America to discourage migrants from making the trip to America, compel Mexico to make its southern border more secure, fight cartels, and increase economic engagement in Central America. Bush concluded that sending the National Guard to the border, increasing the number of humanitarian visas, and changing the 2008 law to expedite the deportation process for illegal immigrants were “pragmatic” ideas.