Jeb Bush Slams Congress for Inaction on Immigration Reform

Saturday, 03 May 2014 03:40 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is praising his home state for doing what the federal government has not — taking action on immigration reform.

On Friday, the Florida House approved a bill that grants in-state tuition to children of some immigrants who are in the United States illegally, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Republican ex-governor said his state's lawmakers has "succeeded in doing what the federal government has failed to do — take real steps to address our nation's serious immigration challenges."

Bush and other Florida leaders were behind the Republican-sponsored bill, which enjoyed strong bipartisan support from politicians such as Gov. Rick Scott and his Democratic opponent in the gubernatorial race, Charlie Crist.

In addition, Republican leaders say the Florida bill could help attract some Latino voters, who favored President Barack Obama in the 2012 election by 71 percent, compared to 27 percent for GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

The law means that Florida students will be able to pay in-state tuition rates as long as they have attended a Florida high school for three years, and if they have graduated within two years, so long as they provide a high school transcript rather than proof of their parents' residency.

The change was 'the right thing to do," said Bush, and will help make Florida's "future workforce more globally competitive than ever."

If Bush runs for president in 2016, his long-time immigration reform stance could become a hurdle with conservative voters. He has said that he supports both a path to legalization status and one to citizenship, with the underlying principle being that there should be "no incentive for people to to come illegally at the expense of coming legally... today, basically, the only path to come to this country, other than family reunification, is to come illegally.”

But his stance has been changing even more. Last month, Bush said people are crossing the border illegally, but "it's not a felony … it's an act of love, an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that is a different kind of crime."

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