Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush met with tea party groups in April over immigration reform while the Senate's Gang of Eight was hashing out its bill on the issue.
Bush and his son, Jeb Bush Jr., met with representatives of TheTeaParty.Net, Tea Party Express, The Tea Party News Network, Revive America and others on April 11, Politico reported
. Also on hand were staff members of former GOP presidential contender Herman Cain and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus.
The meeting was intended to get the tea party engaged in the immigration debate, Politico said.
TheTeaParty.Net, which heads up a coalition of groups backing immigration reform, has not endorsed the Gang of Eight's bill, opting instead to author its own document called "Secure America Now." It calls for programs that lead to assimilation of immigrants and for stronger enforcement of borders.
"From a policy point of view, it was important for us to come up with a set of principles we were for … to let people know that we falsely get labeled as a party of 'no,'" said Niger Innis, the group's chief strategist.
Jeb Bush Jr. told Politico that the meeting was held so a broad coalition could voice their opinions.
“We are trying to have a substantive debate with as many conservative groups as possible,” he said.
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