Jeb Bush spent the week going after the Hispanic vote. On Sunday he had lunch with Zeus Rodriguez, president of Hispanics for School Choice in Wisconsin. Rodriquez had been selected in a contest to eat with the former governor.
On Tuesday in Puerto Rico, Bush spoke both in English and Spanish and talked about immigration. He reminding the crowd that he married a beautiful woman from Mexico and that he understands the importance of immigration because of it. He once again, made clear his support of Puerto Rico becoming a state and his belief that the next president should help make that happen, if that is what the citizens vote for.
On Wednesday in Houston, Bush gave a speech before the National Christian Hispanic Leadership Conference, which represents more than 40,000 evangelical churches. Bush who is an advocate for legal status for undocumented immigrants has said that immigration needs to be fixed. He wants the borders to be controlled but also wants a comprehensive plan to deal with the 11 million undocumented workers already in the country. He talked about how undocumented workers should be able to come out from hiding. That they should pay a fine, be able to work, provide for their families, not receive public assistance , and over a certain amount of time be able to receive legal status.
Bush also touched on a topic that is a major concern for evangelical Christians, the attacks over seas by ISIS and other terrorist groups on Christians. He argued that a stronger America needs to be more involved in the world when it comes to these issues, saying that the United States needs to be on the side of people who are being endangered every day, no matter where they are.
“And I believe this President has let us down in this regard,” he said. “That’s the only political thing I’m going to say today.”
On Thursday at a National Review event in Washington D.C. Bush said that President Obama and Democrats would rather keep immigration as a political issue then solve the problem. He claimed the President uses it as a wedge and that Republicans will always lose in the “age of Obama”. He went on to say that delaying the issues is what the President wants.
Bush vying for the Hispanic vote has made some question whether he is too enthusiastic about immigration. It was a question that National Review asked earlier this year. He discussed immigration reform on the stage at the event Thursday, with Rich Lowry editor of the publication. He told Lowry that he thinks he is wrong on immigration, but still respects him.
Bush disagreed with a comment by a possible opponent for the Republican nomination, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who spoke of a legal immigration system based on protecting American workers and American wages. Some believe that means Walker would limit legal immigration if he became president. Bush believes that approach is wrong and is calling for a legal immigration system that would encourage economic immigrants. A system that would grow the economy faster making America younger and more dynamic.
Bush reaching out to Hispanic communities to get their votes, speaking on issue that are important to them and being the most vocal of all the likely Republican candidates in support of immigration reform, may set him apart from other GOP candidates. It may also make it harder for him as many conservatives are against the type of immigration reform he is championing.
By Jessica Hamel
Photo by Gage Skidmore-Creativecommons Flickr License