Ex-Gov. Jeb Bush has a new book out in which he advocates a pathway to “legal residency” but not citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal aliens presently in the U.S. They would never be allowed to become citizens, something which Bush thinks would discourage more illegals from coming in the future.
Byron York noticed that Bush hedged a little on this in an interview on Tuesday:
“If you can craft that in law, where you can have a path to citizenship where there isn’t an incentive for people to come illegally, I’m for it,” Bush told MSNBC Tuesday morning. “I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t see how you do it, but I’m not smart enough to figure out every aspect of a really complex law.”
Hate to break it to Bush, but his proposal of “legal residency, but never citizenship” still provides a big incentive for future waves of illegal immigrants to come to the U.S.
First, it sends the message to prospective illegal aliens that they can come to the U.S. and eventually will be allowed to stay here permanently. No, they won’t have all the benefits of full citizenship, but so what? They can still come here without all the hassles of doing so legally via U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. And, just remember, the children they have here will be full citizens.
Furthermore, does Bush really think that granting legal residency to the 11 million illegals settles the matter? After all they aren’t just 11 million legal residents; they are also 11 million potential voters. Surely the Democrats and their allies like MALDEF and La Raza realize that. If you think once they are made legal residents there won’t soon be folks advocating to give them full citizenship, I have real estate in Brooklyn for sale, really cheap!
It’s hard to believe that Bush isn’t aware of that. Is he really that naive? Or perhaps it is like Mickey Kaus suggests, that a “not entirely conscious urge seems to overtake Republicans, even conservatives… when they are in the midst of Hispanic Panic and would really, really, like to find a way to say ‘yes’ to amnesty.”
In the end, the message inherent in doing what Bush suggests is come here illegally and eventually we’ll make you legal. And don’t worry about the citizenship part, because there are plenty of political players with an incentive to make sure that “legal residency, but never citizenship” is only temporary.
photo credit: iStockphoto