Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush indicated solidarity with Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s advocacy of tuition breaks for children of illegal immigrants, according to the National Journal.
Perry, who generated a firestorm in his squabble with other GOP presidential candidates on the tuition issue in an interview with Newsmax
, signed the first state law in the nation a decade ago allowing children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates.
Former Florida state Rep. Juan Zapata said the Lone Star state law served as his model for legislation he repeatedly pushed in his state, to no avail.
“Two of his key allies then are now among the GOP's most sought-after stars: Bush, the subject of perpetual draft movements to run for president, and his fellow Floridian, Sen. Marco Rubio, a sure bet for the GOP's vice presidential shortlist in 2012,” the National Journal observed.
“I think that is a fair policy," Bush said in an email to the National Journal.
Students who benefit from the tuition breaks are in the United States through “no fault of their own," said Bush, who is fluent in Spanish and whose wife, Columba, was born in Mexico.
The Republican split on the issue “reflects a jarring disconnect between the party’s political establishment and the restless conservative grass roots,” the Journal reported. “If Bush and Rubio represent the future of the Republican Party — which is inevitably intertwined with winning favor in the fast-growing Hispanic community, then what does it mean when a rock-ribbed conservative like Perry can’t take a moderate stance on immigration? Perhaps no other issue bedevils the Republican Party as much.”
Bush and several Hispanic Republicans have warned that bitter rhetoric over illegal immigration risks alienating the fastest-growing portion of voters, the Journal noted.
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