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Jeb Bush: House GOP Should Pass Senate Immigration Bill

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Monday, 01 Jul 2013 01:51 PM

House Republicans need to embrace the Senate's immigration bill and pass it to allow it to become law, potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush wrote Monday.

The law would be good for the country, for the GOP, and for those who wish to come here, Bush argued in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece.

"No Republican would vote for legislation that stifled economic growth, promoted illegal immigration, added to the welfare rolls, and failed to ensure a secure border. Yet they essentially will do just that if they fail to pass comprehensive immigration reform — and leave in place a system that does all of those things," he wrote.

Latest: Do You Support Giving Illegals Citizenship? Vote Here Now

Bush — who co-authored the article with Goldwater Institute attorney Clint Bolick — said the Senate bill "addresses most of the flaws of the current system."

"It reduces family preferences, increases the number of high-skilled visas, expands guest-worker programs, and creates a merit-based immigration system for people who want to pursue the American dream. It also offers a path to citizenship for those who were brought here illegally as children, and dramatically increases resources and tools for border security."

And with the addition of allowing those already here a long path to citizenship, those are reasons enough to pass it, they wrote.

"Overall, the bill satisfies a criterion that is essential to the rule of law: It makes it easier to immigrate legally than illegally."

However, Bush and Bolick said there are improvements that the Republican-controlled House can make, such as more clarity on border security and a stronger E-Verify system.

"The House also can create more opportunities for work-based immigration by limiting family preferences to spouses and minor children, as most other countries do," they said, pointing out that the current system allows parents and working-age children to join immigrant families.

"Moreover, the House should beef up civics education requirements for new citizens. Currently, immigrants need answer only six of 10 civics questions correctly to qualify. New citizens should be required not only to learn English but to fully understand the nature and workings of our democratic and free-enterprise systems."

Bush said the GOP stands to gain electorally with immigration reform.

"Republicans have much in common with immigrants — beliefs in hard work, enterprise, family, education, patriotism, and faith. But for their voice to penetrate the gateway, Republicans need to cease being the obstacle to immigration reform and instead point the way toward the solution."

Latest: Do You Support Giving Illegals Citizenship? Vote Here Now

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