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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.