Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Is Jeb right? Putting his 'act of love' immigration comments in context

Many are quoting Jeb Bush and criticizing his "act of love" comments concerning immigration. Perhaps it would help if they put the comment in context:
"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."
His is a humanitarian look at a huge issue in America, and it's increasingly becoming a wedge between political friends. Rightly or wrongly, the GOP has become known as the party of no. The outrage over Jeb's comments and his willingness to look at comprehensive immigration reform only feeds that image. However, the former Florida governor is willing to sit at the table and discuss an issue that some have summarily dismissed without looking for solutions.

The Wall Street Journal editorialized on Tuesday that Jeb "makes more sense than his critics" and commented on the GOP:
For a party that has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, the GOP sure seems eager to banish people from its potential candidate ranks. First Senator Marco Rubio was expelled from impolite conservative company, then Rep. Paul Ryan came in for abuse, and now former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is being whipped for breaking from the anti-immigration orthodoxy on the right.

Will all the estimated 10 million illegal immigrants be shipped back home, or are we willing to look for solutions? Jeb Bush has some suggestions:
Mr. Bush urged everyone to drop "the harsh political rhetoric" and recognize that immigrants "can make a contribution to our country if we organize ourselves in a better way." Assimilation is essential to that effort, he said, and should include teaching civics in public school and requiring English.
Twenty-five years ago President Ronald Reagan faced the same issue. "I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally," he said at the time. He granted amnesty. The WSJ compared that to today's less tolerant atmosphere and concluded:
Not too long ago that would have been called Reagan orthodoxy. Mr. Bush says he'll decide on whether to run for President by the end of the year, but if he does run he's already got a better immigration message than the self-defeating "self-deportation" crowd that cost the GOP so dearly in 2012.
The decision in 2016 will be whether to go with a hard-liner, or with someone who is willing to take the more difficult path in today's political atmosphere to find solutions. When someone is willing to give up political dreams to do what's right, that may be the leader America needs.

1 comment:

Mike said...

The trouble with the phrase "act of love" is it implies opposition would be an "act of hate."