Jeb (Not That One) Bush: Immigration Must Pass

Photograph by Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images

George P. Bush, left, and Jeb Bush Jr., right, in Washington, DC.

Follow the byline closely in this appeal for congressional action on immigration:

Jeb Bush.

No, not the former governor of Florida, president’s son and president’s brother and co-author of “Immigration Wars.”

Jeb Bush Jr.

The ex-governor’s younger son, president’s grandson and president’s nephew and a member of the board of the National Immigration Forum.

And not the George P. Bush, older brother of Jeb Jr. running for land commissioner in Texas, the state that launched a Bush presidency.

“In 2013 we made great strides toward a successful 2014 for immigration,” Bush Jr. writes in an essay in The Hill today. “Considering that just over a year ago this issue was on the sidelines, the fact that the home stretch is in sight is no small accomplishment.”

“2014 stands to be that blockbuster year that finally takes reform across the finish line,” he writes. “Our members of Congress have the opportunity to work together on an issue with truly broad, bipartisan support. And my congressman, Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), is set to play a crucial role in those efforts.”

“Even with difficulties presented by the congressional calendar, there is more than enough time and political will to get reform done in the 113th Congress,” he writes. “The question is not if, but when.”

“At a juncture where Americans are eager to see their politicians transcend politics, immigration reform has true bipartisan support. Now Republicans and Democrats in the House must work together to get it done.”

The Senate has approved a comprehensive bill toughening border controls, offering more guest worker visas and a path to citizenship for the undocumented already in the U.S. that President Barack Obama would love to sign. The House, if it passes anything at all, is looking at separate bills on border security, visas and some relief for the undocumented or at least their children.

In the Senate, advocates have offered their formula for an agreement: Take the Senate-passed bill, combine it with legislation from the House and produce a package in conference that both parties can accept. The Republicans in the House view this as a trap for citizenship that they reject.  That’s the goal of Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, in fact — a comprehensive bill that all can accept, with a way “out of the shadows” for all.

It’s not only immigration law that is at stake, but also the standing of the Republican Party among the fast-growing Hispanic electorate as well as Asian-American voters. They gave the lion’s share of their votes to Obama in 2012, though recent polling shows some softening of support for the president among Hispanics — the biggest slide among any one group of voters.

Grover Norquist, the anti-tax crusader, came through our offices recently and offered a prediction about the outcome of all this.

The Republicans will release five bills from the Judiciary Committee that Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia chairs — “Republicans… will put the votes on the table” to show their concern.” He suggests that, with this, Republicans can “neutralize the situation:” The Democrats have a plan, the Republicans have a plan. If they all could agree, they’d all have a plan.

“Short-term,” he suggests, it “doesn’t help, but it doesn’t hurt.”

By the time 2016 rolls around, Norquist says, “Nationally, all our Republican candidates will be pro-reform.”


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