Is Jeb Bush a Supporter of Amnesty?

No. He isn’t:

Mr. Bush’s proposal would narrow the definition of family for preference purposes to spouses and minor children and increase work and skills-based visas. He would greatly strengthen border security, linking any legalized status for illegal immigrants to tangible progress on objective border security metrics.

A more robust guest-worker program, which unions have blocked, would ease pressure on illegal immigration. Employers would be matched with workers who would receive red cards containing computer chips to monitor entry and exit. The cards would be renewable annually so long as jobs are available. Many guest workers would return regularly to their families, paying U.S. taxes while consuming almost no services.

Those who prove they are law-abiding and hardworking can become eligible for green cards and eventual citizenship, though many will not choose that path. All of those reforms further Mr. Bush’s goal of making it easier to come legally than illegally and thus bolster the economy and the nation’s security.

Recognizing that the rule of law requires consequences for illegal actions, Mr. Bush proposes that illegal immigrants who came as adults should be subjected to penalties and not be eligible for citizenship. That proposal ignited a firestorm among liberals when the book was published, even as it helped forge a conservative alternative to the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill in 2013. Yet now the proposal is derided in some circles as “amnesty,” when it is anything but.

Many of Bush’s proposals are far more restrictive of immigration than what I would favor. But there is one thing that the Bush proposals are not: They are not “amnesty.” Indeed, nowadays, the term “amnesty” is best understood as “an immigration policy that my political opponent favors, and I don’t like, and I am going to denounce as ‘amnesty’ in order to seem more conservative to my supporters.” If voters actually buy into the “Bush favors amnesty” line, then they are allowing themselves to be hoodwinked, and if politicians and pundits spread that line, then they will show themselves to be liars. In any event, as the Wall Street Journal editorial makes clear, Bush’s immigration policy has nothing in it that even remotely resembles an endorsement of “amnesty.”

%d bloggers like this: