Jeb: Rubio, Cruz Were Right About ‘Path to Legal Status’ Until Abandoning It

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday, Republican presidential hopeful former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) insisted he had been clear and consistent on his stance on immigration policy from the beginning.

The issue came up during Saturday night’s CBS GOP presidential debate, which included Bush’s competitors, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) calling each other liars for changing their stances. According to Bush, both had abandoned one of the key tenets he supports, which was a so-called “path to legal status” for undocumented.

Partial transcript as follows:

SCARBOROUGH: So let me ask you, there was — there was another battle that I thought was — was equally fascinating as the one between you and Donald Trump, and that was Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz both pointing fingers and calling each other liars on immigration. Who’s telling the truth there?

BUSH: Well, I think — I think it’s pretty clear if you saw the debate before, there was videos pointing out the fact that Ted Cruz did support a path to legal status for undocumented folks. That’s my position, by the way, and he’s abandoned that. And then Marco Rubio was a sponsor of the bill and he abandoned that, so maybe they’re both right.

SCARBOROUGH: Why did they — why did — that’s a wonderful way to say maybe two people are lying. What — why — why have they changed their positions? And have you changed your position on immigration…

BUSH: No, I haven’t.

SCARBOROUGH: … because Marco will say you changed your position.

BUSH: No. I supported him when he said will you support this bill? But my position has been clear, I wrote a book about it four years ago. I do think we need to have a path to earned legal status where over an extended period of time, people pay a fine, they come out from the shadows, they work, they don’t receive federal government assistance, they learn English, they don’t commit crimes and they earn a path to legal status, not to citizenship. That’s my view, I’ve stuck with it now for — for a long while while.

SCARBOROUGH: And by the way, it is — I mean, I don’t want to — I don’t want to make this all about immigration, but it is virtually — it is impossible to deport 11, 12, 13 million people, is it not?

BUSH: Yes. It’s — it’s totally impossible. At the debate, Ted Cruz was asked about the — the DREAM Act kids, were you going to — are you going to deport them, knowing that we know where they are now based on that registration process? And he didn’t answer it because it’s a tough question. Are you just going to round people up and send them out?

The costs are extraordinary. It’s — it’s not a practical view. Well, certainly Donald Trump believes you can do it, but he’s not a serious — not offering a serious alternative on how to do it, he’s just saying we’ll do it because I’m big, because I’m strong. Well, Saturday didn’t look so strong to me.

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