Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) whose state is known for its diverse cultures has brilliantly weighed in on the immigration issue in his new book, Immigration Wars: Forging An American Solution. Jeb Bush and his co-author Clint Bolick contend in their book that there must be immigration reform. Their arguments consist of an analysis and solutions, combining immigration reform with securing the border.
Because America’s population expansion has been declining over the years the authors assert that America’s future will be dependent on making sure it has a large immigrant population as was the case in the 1920s and after World War II. For the first time the U.S. will compete with other countries for immigrant workers and their skills. Because of this they believe that there must be a complete reform of legal immigration and want to prioritize skill-based immigration over extended family reunification. Former Governor Bush stated, “We need to grow our population with young, aspiring people that embrace our ideals and create value for all of us. One of the means to do this is to transform our immigration system from stem to stern.”
What he proposes in the book is a path to legal status, stating, “It is absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions have consequences — in this case, that those who violated the law can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship…To do otherwise would signal once again that people who circumvent the system can still obtain the full benefits of American citizenship.” Although some argue that this is self-deportation he commented directly that it is allowing those who broke the rule of law to come out of the shadows, remain in the U.S. legally as long as they learn English, pay a fine, live a life of dignity, and embrace American values. Anyone who supports the rule of law and has fought to defend America’s constitutional ideas should think this fair. The reader can take the words “the cherished fruits of citizenship,” and see precedence from the Bible when Moses was allowed to view the Promised Land but not enter it.
The Bush plan allows for those who have come to America to have legal permanent status. He states in the book, “Over a period of time, they can have a legalized status that allows them to live a life of dignity, but not necessarily a path to citizenship, so as to not create incentives for future people that aspire to come to our country to do so illegally when they could come legally.”
Also, a part of the plan as expressed in the book is the recognition that those who have come illegally need to pay a fine or do community service. He explained it like this, “These specifics that are required for someone obtaining legalized status should be tempered by practical reality. If you make the fine so large it becomes so punitive that people cannot afford it, that won’t work. Also, if you have no consequences that is not appropriate. The rule of law must be respected. We need to find a middle ground, the need to pay some compensation with a balance on the amount in order to get the maximum participation.” He thinks this is extremely important and to back up this point uses the PEW Research Center statistic, that only 40% of those eligible to apply for citizenship in 1987 did so.
What he proposes in the book is a guest worker program combined with a strong revamped e-verify system and a guest worker ID card using biometrics. He also wants to limit extended family reunification to spouses and minor children, in favor of skill-based immigration, noting, “We need a guest worker program, a legal immigration system that is less costly and more efficient, and an e-verify system when all combined would be deterrents against illegal immigration. I am hoping that this plan will allow more folks to come to our country to pursue their dreams.”
As former Governor Bush summarized, “President Bush in 2007 had an immigration plan that passed the House and for a brief moment had 60 votes in the Senate. Today, I think people want to get it resolved for political purposes, economic purposes, and for justice purposes. The best way to prevent illegal immigration is to make sure that we have a fair and workable legal immigration system. Unfortunately the current immigration system is neither. ”
Although there are many plans currently being considered people should read Immigration Wars because the solutions offered are pragmatic, realistic, and reasonable. The authors address and identify many of the urgent issues and how to resolve them. This book is a must for those who feel that there is a need to reform the immigration system, dealing with both the legal and illegal issues.