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Dan Moffett

Who Knows Where GOP's Jeb Bush Stands on Immigration Reform?

By March 25, 2013

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, often mentioned as a frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, has offered multiple positions on comprehensive immigration reform during the last year.

During the 2012 election campaign, Bush said he supported a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants.

But this year, in a new book written with attorney Clint Bolick, Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution, Bush contradicts himself by opposing the idea of U.S. citizenship for undocumented residents.

"Permanent residency in this context, however, should not lead to citizenship," Bush said in the book. "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 has tried to explain the reversal by saying he is flexible on the issue and trying to stimulate a constructive dialogue on immigration among conservatives. But frankly, who knows what he really thinks?

He makes a cliched appeal for fairness in the book that adds next to nothing to that constructive dialogue he hopes to promote:

"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 wrote.

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