Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is offering compassion but also tough love on the border crisis that has seen thousands of youth attempt to enter the country in recent months.
"Except for those deserving few who may demonstrate true cause for asylum or protection from sex trafficking, these children must be returned to their homes in Central America," Bush said in a commentary in The Wall Street Journal
co-written with the Goldwater Institute's Clint Bolick.
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Earlier this year, Bush was criticized by conservatives for saying illegal immigration often represented an "act of love" as parents tried to keep their families together and find work. Commentators such as MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell
have said Bush's remarks could hurt his chances to win the GOP nomination for president in 2016.
In the Journal commentary, Bush and Bolick also called on House Republicans to take a leadership role on immigration, saying now was not the time to pull back from making progress on an issue that will not go away.
“Congress should not use the present crisis as an excuse to defer comprehensive immigration reform," the two men wrote. Bush is a possible GOP presidential candidate for 2016 and who ranks high in recent presidential polls, according to the Sunshine State News website.
Bush tied the current immigration standoff with more than 50,000 mostly young people entering the United States with the inaction of President Barack Obama, Politico said.
“The best antidote to illegal immigration is a functioning system of legal immigration,” Bush and Bolick wrote.
While the president is seeking $3.7 billion from Congress to deal with the influx, "he has failed to call for a change in the law, to engage across party lines or to take sufficient steps to keep more children from coming, Bush and Bolick said.
Bush and Bolick said the United States was overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of immigrants trying to get in but also cited statistics concerning how few show up for hearings once they are processed. Citing Homeland Security numbers, Bush and Bolick said only about 2 percent of the estimated 50,000 children who have come into the U.S. this year have been sent home.
"We must aggressively remove the incentives that encourage people to break immigration laws," the writers said. "It is vital that we clearly communicate that there will be zero rewards for those who imperil the lives of children by sending them to the U.S. illegally."
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