In the time lag between Jeb Bush’s finishing his new book and the thing getting published, many in his party became, if not enthusiastic about, at least resigned to, a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. One of the most prominent flippers was Jeb’s fellow Floridian and mentee Marco Rubio, who has been working along side John McCain and Lindsey “Butters” Graham to get the Senate to approve a comprehensive immigration bill including such a path, knowing full well they will face tremendous resistance in the Tea-Party-heavy GOP House.
Now Jeb has upset the apple cart (or taco stand) by flipping away from the path to citizenship he has long supported, leaving Rubio, who just recently flipped the other way, thinking he was matching Jeb, mortified. Jeb is giving comfort — and ammunition — to those in Congress who oppose the path, not to mention the monkey wrench he has thrown into some 2016 ambitions.
Jeb’s book just came out today, and already he is walking himself back toward the “path” he abandoned, saying he could support a path “where there isn’t an incentive for people to come illegally.” When he wrote the book, Jeb thought he was flipping in a way that would clear away one obstacle (he still has his last name) to his running in 2016. He thought he would make primary voters happy, but he’s made many powerful players in his party extremely unhappy with his disastrous timing.
The GOP has been trying to effect this change quietly, without calling a lot of attention to it, in a casual, oh-by-the-way manner as Sean Hannity has done. Now Jeb has upset things not just by the substance of his position, but by putting an unwelcome spotlight on the issue itself.
Jeb’s book calls for a path to “permanent residency,” rather than a path to citizenship for those who came here illegally. It’s interesting how some in the GOP, while constantly protesting that Obama is turning us into Europe, think it’s a wonderful idea to emulate Europe in this respect, where they have guest workers who have no way to become citizens, in effect a two-tiered society.
Since Europe doesn’t have our Constitution, guest workers’ children don’t become citizens if they are born in the country where their parents are working. Here, either permanent residents’ children who are born here would be citizens or we’d need a Constitutional amendment preventing that. Jeb says his lack of a path to citizenship would discourage illegal immigration, but it won’t work if their children would still be citizens at birth. The prospect of your children being Americans would provide tremendous incentive to get yourself here, even if you know you’ll never become a citizen.
Keep walking Jeb — backwards — as fast as you can.