Jeb Bush on Immigration: Why People Are ‘Riled Up’
Genevieve Wood /
Jeb Bush, in an interview about illegal immigration, said Sunday that “it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.”
I agree. But that is not why people are “riled up” about our broken immigration system, and it’s disappointing Bush would suggest it is. Americans are the most compassionate people in the world and have given more aid to help more people in need than any other country on earth.
That said, people are rightly concerned that we have millions of people, regardless of motive, who broke the law and are living in the United States illegally. They are rightly concerned that our country’s borders are not secure and that the Obama administration is not enforcing our immigration laws, allowing even many illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds to remain here. They are rightly concerned about the growing burden illegal immigration puts on taxpayers—specifically schools, police departments, and health care facilities in areas with large illegal immigrant populations.
And, they are rightly not happy that people like Jeb Bush are somehow suggesting they are the problem, when the real problem is leaders in our country who have no respect for the rule of law, no respect for the American taxpayer, and no respect for the millions of would-be immigrants who are waiting in line to enter this country legally (many, no doubt, who are doing so to provide a better life for their families).
There are means by which we can control our border better than we have. And there should be penalties for breaking the law. But the way I look at this — and I’m going to say this, and it’ll be on tape and so be it. The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally, they come to our country because their families — the dad who loved their children — was worried that their children didn’t have food on the table. And they wanted to make sure their family was intact, and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime that there should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.
America was built by immigrants, and we are a stronger country because of all those who faced hardship to come and build a life here for themselves and their families. And the reality is that millions of people around the world would love the opportunity to pursue the American Dream. A Gallup survey found that roughly 700 million adults worldwide would like the chance to move to another country; not surprisingly, the United States topped the list of desired countries to relocate to.
Why people want to come to America is important, but how they come also matters. If we want to ensure that those who deserve to come and who need to come are able to do so in the future, then we must pursue immigration reform that respects and secures our borders, that does not encourage more illegal immigration (as granting amnesty has proven to do), and that is beneficial and fair both to current citizens and those who desire to become citizens.
Bush followed his comments saying, “I think we need to kind of get beyond the harsh political rhetoric to a better place.”
Agreed. But you won’t get there by insulting Americans who rightly believe illegal immigration is taking a toll on our country and that immigrants should have to follow the same rules as everyone else.