Tags: jeb | bush | no | pathway | illegal | immgrants

Jeb Bush Reverses Immigration Stance: No ‘Pathway’ for Illegals

Monday, 04 Mar 2013 07:41 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Monday reversed his position on illegal immigrants — now saying that he opposed a pathway to citizenship, a crucial issue in comprehensive immigration reform.

In his new book, “Immigration Wars,” Bush presented a plan that specifically rules out the possibility of illegal immigrants obtaining full citizenship if they remain in the United States.

The former governor, however, makes an exception for young undocumented immigrants, known as DREAMers, who were brought to the U.S. as minors.
A copy of the book was obtained by ABC News.

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“Permanent residency in this context, however, should not lead to citizenship,” Bush said in the book, written with attorney Clint Bolick. “It is absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions have consequences — in this case, that those who have violated the laws can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship.

“To do otherwise would signal once again that people who circumvent the system can still obtain the full benefits of American citizenship,” Bush continued. “It must be a basic prerequisite for citizenship to respect the rule of law.”

Bush then calls for full citizenship for undocumented immigrants an “undeserving reward for conduct we cannot afford to encourage.”

According to Bush, immigrants who came to the United States without documentation as adults could apply for permanent legal residency by:
  • Pleading guilty to having committed illegal entry, which is a crime.
  •  Paying fines, performing community service, or otherwise adhering to another form of punishment prescribed by the law. Those who do not come forward during this process are subject to automatic deportation if they remain in the U.S., Bush said.
  • Paying back taxes, learning English, and refraining from committing “substantial crimes” to earn permanent legal residency. This is for those immigrants who follow step two.
The only means through which illegals can earn U.S. citizenship under the Bush plan would be to return to their home nations and apply legally, ABC reports. These immigrants, however, would be barred for either three years or 10 years if they returned to their home countries and applied for U.S. citizenship from there.

“We need to address this problem in a fair, firm, and comprehensive way, while at the same time fixing our immigration process so that in the future, millions of people do not feel the need to enter our country illegally because there are no viable means for them to do so lawfully,” Bush said in the book.

But for DREAMers, the Bush plan would provide a “clear and definite path to citizenship” for young immigrants who earn a high school diploma or GED, or serve in the military.

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These candidates would have been brought to the U.S. before they turned 18, would have resided in the U.S. for at least 5 years, and would have a criminal record clear of any “significant crimes,” Bush said.

These children would not have to plead guilty to a crime or suffer any legal consequences. They could obtain the existing form of permanent legal residency — a green card — and could then apply for citizenship after five years.

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