July 07, 2015

Hillary Clinton: Jeb Bush 'doesn't believe in a path to citizenship'


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton declared herself "very disappointed" at Donald Trump -- a past supporter of her U.S. Senate campaign -- over his now-infamous remarks in which he claimed Mexican immigrants who cross the U.S. border are often criminals and rapists.

"I feel very bad and very disappointed with him and with the Republican Party for not responding immediately and saying, 'Enough. Stop it,'" Clinton told CNN in an interview Tuesday. "But they are all in the same general area on immigration: They don't want to provide a path to citizenship. They range across a spectrum of being either grudgingly welcome or hostile toward immigrants."

Pressed about Republican Jeb Bush, who has called parents bringing children illegally into the U.S. an "act of love," Clinton maintained that the former Florida governor doesn't want to give people already in the country full-fledged legal status.

"He doesn't believe in a path to citizenship -- if he did at one time, he no longer does," she said. "As I said, they're on a spectrum of hostility which I think is really regrettable in a nation of immigrants like ours."

Bush has favored citizenship in the past. But in his book Immigration Wars, and recently on the campaign trail, he has instead backed legal status without citizenship, suggesting that might be a more achievable goal given contentious immigration politics.

Bush's camp countered by pointing to "flip-flops" by Clinton on immigration.

"Hillary Clinton has once again changed her position on an issue for politically expedient purposes. After voting for the poison pill amendment that stopped immigration reform in its tracks as a Senator and saying she believed the unaccompanied minors 'should be sent back' to their home countries last year, she is now running further to the left on immigration policy than even President Obama's White House believes is legally feasible," Bush spokeswoman Emily Benavides said in a statement. "Hillary Clinton will say anything to get elected and her numerous flip-flops on immigration prove it."

As for Bush's position, Benavides pointed to Bush's book, saying he "believes in a conservative legislative solution to fix our broken immigration system that includes earned legal status for those currently in the country after they pay fines and taxes, learn English, and commit no substantial crimes while securing our border."

Though Clinton didn't mention him, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is one of the GOP contenders who says he's open to granting citizenship to many of the people in the country illegally. Bush, Rubio and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who shares a similar view, have all been criticized by some conservatives over their immigration support.

This post has been updated with Benavides' statement.

July 02, 2015

Miami-Dade GOP legislators make a push for presidential candidates to campaign in favor of immigration reform

While presidential candidates who oppose immigration reform may gain support from a slice of GOP voters in early voting states, that stance will cost the GOP in battleground states in the general election, according to a new poll.

A group of Miami-Dade Republican officials hosted a teleconference with reporters Thursday to discuss the results of a poll of likely voters about their stances on immigration and make the case that presidential candidates should campaign in favor of immigration reform.

The poll was conducted in the early primary and caucus states with 400 GOP voters a piece in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. A similar poll was conducted of 800 voters in 10 battleground states including Florida which represented 23 percent of the respondents. The polls took place in April and May.

The poll was done by Burning Glass Consulting and The Partnership for a New American Economy, a group that brings together mayors and business leaders to make an economic case for changing immigration laws.

Rudy Fernandez, a former special assistant to President George W. Bush in the White House, speaking on behalf of the Partnership, said that the poll shows while an anti-immigration candidate may “gain a little bit and win favor with extremists” in early states, “you lost a lot in the general election.”

Continue reading "Miami-Dade GOP legislators make a push for presidential candidates to campaign in favor of immigration reform" »

June 18, 2015

Immigration activists interrupt Marco Rubio speech

via @learyreports

WASHINGTON - Immigration activists interrupted Marco Rubio’s speech today before Christian conservatives and his reaction contrasted with how Jeb Bush handled a similar outburst at his announcement speech Monday in Miami.

Rubio paused his speech as the activists talked about deferred action, the Obama program that has protected some young immigrants from deportation. He then made a reference to how in Cuba such free speech would not be allowed, though staff at the Faith & Freedom Coalition ushered the activists out (as the crowd booed the demonstrators). A man blocked reporters from leaving the room, then relented but said reporters wouldn’t be able to get back in.

"If you did that in another country, you would be in jail tonight," Rubio said. "In America, people have a right to interrupt speeches, they have a right to be rude, they have a right to be wrong. We live in a free society." But he did not address immigration.

Bush’s speech Monday was stopped by a string of youth in green T-shirts that spelled out “legal status is not enough.” Bush, who oddly did not plan to address immigration in his speech, went off script.

"Just so our friends know, the next president of the United States will pass meaningful immigration reform so that will be solved. Not by executive order,” he said to explosive cheers from the audience, filled with Hispanics. "USA, USA, USA!" the crowd chanted.

Yesterday, Bush told ABC News that he does support a path to citizenship for immigrants brought to the country as children by their parents. While he once called for citizenship for the larger population he now advocates earned legal status.

The scenes Monday and today show how immigration will continue to be an issue for Bush and Rubio, both whom have taken heat from conservatives but both whom see Hispanic support as key to their chances at the White House.

Rubio opposes Obama's deferred action but has advocated for reforms and supports a path to citizenship.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

June 17, 2015

Jeb Bush says undocumented immigrants should have path to legal status -- or citizenship if they're DREAMers


Jeb Bush maintained Wednesday that the families of the young undocumented immigrants who interrupted his presidential announcement Monday in Miami should be offered a path to legal status. But the young people themselves, he added, should have a path to citizenship if they were brought into the country illegally as children.

"There ought to be some recognition that we're not going to send them back to a country they know nothing about," Bush told ABC News' World News Tonight in an interview taped in Iowa.

The protesters who stood up and chanted during his speech Monday wore T-shirts that read, "LEGAL STATUS IS NOT ENOUGH!" Bush, who didn't plan to say anything about immigration, ad-libbed that "the next president of the United States will pass meaningful immigration reform."

Bush has previously backed a path to citizenship, though these days he doesn't go that far and just calls for legal status.

In another part of the interview, Bush told anchor David Muir that he knows the campaign will be a long haul: "I'm a grinder. I'm really competitive. I'm really focused. I'm very disciplined. But it takes a lot of effort for someone who's introverted -- I admit I am."

President Obama has faced criticism for not doing enough to endear himself to other politicians, Muir noted. "It's work. It's required," Bush said. "That's not the president's forte."

Bush said he still plans to play with his grandchildren at home Sunday afternoons -- known as "Sunday Funday" -- and he confirmed an anecdote his son Jeb Jr. told CNN in an interview aired earlier this week about how Bush's wife, Columba, acceded to her husband's presidential run.

"She told a friend -- and then she told me -- that not allowing me to pursue this mission would be like telling a musician you can't play music," Bush said.

June 15, 2015

Immigration protesters disrupt Jeb Bush presidential announcement

Protesters one


Jeb Bush wasn't going to mention immigration reform in the launch of his 2016 Republican presidential campaign. The word didn't appear in his prepared remarks, even though he co-authored a book a few years ago titled Immigration Wars.

But a group of protesters forced his hand Monday at Miami Dade College's Kendall campus. They interrupted his 28-minute speech, standing up in neon-green T-shirts that spelled out, "LEGAL STATUS IS NOT ENOUGH!"

The group of self-described gay-rights and immigration advocates comprised members of Get Equal Florida, United We Dream, We Count! and several other organizations.

Their chants were drowned out by Bush's crowd, about 3,000 people strong. Several reporters in the back of the hall heard Bush say, "I agree," but he was away from the lectern and the audio did not record on C-SPAN's broadcast.

Bush then took to the microphone in earnest.

"By the way, just so that our friends know, the next president of the United States will pass meaningful immigration reform so that will be solved, not by executive order," he said, prompting loud cheers.

The advocates were escorted out, and Bush resumed his speech. "I kind of lost my train of thought here," he said, before going right back to where he had been cut off.

Photo credit: Patrick Farrell, Miami Herald staff

Protesters two



May 11, 2015

Jeb Bush, like Marco Rubio, wouldn't undo Obama immigration order right away


Jeb Bush indicated in an interview to air Monday that he would wait until Congress pass an immigration overhaul before repealing President Obama's executive orders temporarily allowing some people in the country illegally to stay.

Bush reiterated to Fox News' Megyn Kelly that he would undo Obama's orders known as DACA and DAPA. DAPA isn't in place yet because it's been challenged in court, but DACA is. When Kelly asked Bush how he would undo that order, according to a transcript of the recorded interview, he said: "Passing meaningful reform of immigration and make it part of it."

The former Florida governor, a still-undeclared 2016 Republican presidential hopeful, had said in a Seattle radio interview last month that he would repeal both orders, noting that DAPA has yet to be implemented. "The better answer is to fix the immigration problem," Bush said at the time.

Bush's position sounds a lot like Marco Rubio's. The Florida senator, who is already a formal presidential candidate, has said he would do away with DAPA right away if it doesn't die in court first but leave DACA in place at first while pushing Congress to pass immigration legislation.

"At some point, it's going to have to end -- that can't become the permanent policy of the United States -- but on the short term I've said I won't remove it," Rubio told CNN en Español last month. "I would eliminate DAPA, the new measure, and I would use the position of president to advance a responsible immigration-reform process."

May 01, 2015

Jeb Bush to conservative journal: 'You're wrong on immigration'

via @lesleyclark

WASHINGTON -- Jeb Bush defended his support for a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants before a conservative audience Thursday, saying his critics are simply wrong.

The expected Republican presidential contender’s stance on immigration and Common Core education standards have proven a sticking point with conservatives, but Bush says the opposition is misplaced.

"I love you and I love National Review, I just think you're wrong on immigration," Bush told National Review editor Rich Lowry, who moderated an hour long session with the former Florida governor. “You think I'm wrong."

Bush said an immigration overhaul is critical to restoring the U.S. economy. He said he backs narrowing the number of immigrants who arrive for family reasons, and expanding the number of economic immigrants.

“If you’re going to grow at 4 percent per year, rather than 2 percent, you need younger, more dynamic people,” he said. “You can’t do it with a declining population.”

Continue reading "Jeb Bush to conservative journal: 'You're wrong on immigration'" »

April 24, 2015

The careful line Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush walk on immigration reform


NASHUA, N.H. -- Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have turned explaining their similar positions on immigration reform into a political art form.

Secure the border, they grovel to conservatives worried about “amnesty.” Get a better grip on people come into the country legally with visas, in case they overstay them. Give legal priority to immigrants who can contribute to the economy. Then — and only then! — should the U.S. grant legal status to many of the nearly 11 million people inside the country without authorization.

“We need to control our border first of all,” Bush said last week at a political breakfast in Manchester, New Hampshire.

“The American people, they understand we have an issue that has to be confronted,” Rubio said at a Manchester house party a few hours later. “But they’re not willing to do it or even talk about it until you show them — not tell them, you better show them — that illegal immigration is under control.”

That’s what grass-roots Republican voters want to hear. But they remain skeptical of Rubio and Bush, at least in New Hampshire, which holds the nation’s first presidential primary next year after the Iowa caucuses. Neither state is known for its demographic diversity: The population of both states is more than 93 percent white in both states, according to the U.S. Census, and only 5 percent of residents are foreign-born.

Immigration presents a challenge for Bush, the former Florida governor who has yet to declare his 2016 presidential candidacy, and Rubio, the U.S. senator who’s already running. Both back granting legal status to the nearly 11 million people already in the country illegally.

More here.

April 14, 2015

Did Marco Rubio vote to deport Dreamers?

On the day Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., announced his presidential campaign, opponents came out with an ad attacking his record.

People for the American Way, a liberal advocacy group, released a Spanish-language radio ad that calls Rubio "just another Republican with a dangerous plan" and claims he supports tax cuts for the wealthy and cutting Medicare funding. The ad is set to run in Denver and Miami, Rubio’s hometown.

The ad also pits Rubio against "Dreamers" -- young people who arrived in the United States illegally as children who have been granted temporary status for deferred deportation under a 2012 White House program.

"Instead of giving Dreamers an opportunity to go to college and build a future, Marco Rubio voted to deport them," the ad’s narrator said.

Rubio, a son of Cuban immigrants, has long been an advocate for changing immigration law, including a path to citizenship. Did he really vote to deport the approximately 700,000 immigrants covered by this program?

See what Lauren Carroll of PolitiFact found and see our full Truth-O-Meter record for Rubio.

April 07, 2015

North Miami, Tampa among cities backing Obama's executive action on immigration

via @learyreports

The cities of Tampa and North Miami have signed onto a friend-of-the-court petition asking for "immediate implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration."

Tampa and North Miami are the first cities in Florida to join the effort, according to the Florida Immigrant Coalition, which estimates 253,000 Florida residents would benefit. Obama's action is designed to prevent the deportation of otherwise law abiding people.

A number of states, including Florida, have sued the federal government to prevent the executive action. More than 70 cities have joined the counter effort.

"We commend the Mayors from Tampa and North Miami for taking this step in favor of our families, workers and economy; more cities and counties should make similar statements,” said Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “Why would Attorney General Pam Bondi go out of her way, with our taxdollars, to add Florida to this lawsuit? This temporary relief from deportation for parents of U.S. citizens represents a life-changing measure for tens of thousands of Floridian families. To stop this relief is hurtful to not only our families, but to our pocketbook. We urge her to reconsider her position and withdraw from the lawsuit for the well-being of Florida’s families and economy.”

Critics say Obama exceeded his authority.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times