Jeb Bush 2013: It's "ridiculous" that DREAMers don't have citizenship, impossible to completely control the border

It’s always fun as primary season heats up to theorize about which campaign leaked some damaging oppo research to the media about another. So many suspects in this one! Chris Christie stands to benefit most: If he can make Jeb less palatable to righties than he is, the donor class may decide that Christie’s their best bet for a RINO who can unite the party. Scott Walker benefits too in that this gives him an “at least I’m better than Jeb” defense to tea partiers when his own immigration weakness becomes an issue. Marco Rubio’s eager to ingratiate himself with rich establishmentarians who might worry that his Gang of Eight heresy will be poison to the right in the general; this leak could be his way of reminding them that Bush is just as compromised on the issue. Or maybe this is an early shot across the bow from Ted Cruz’s camp, since they’re the ones most likely to gain in the primaries by punishing rivals for being too accommodating with illegals.

Who ordered the code red on Captain Amnesty?

“I’ve never felt like the sins of the parents should be ascribed to the children, you know,” Bush said in 2013. “If your children always have to pay the price for adults decisions they make — how fair is that? For people who have no country to go back to — which are many of the DREAMers — it’s ridiculous to think that there shouldn’t be some accelerated path to citizenship.”…

Other comments included that Bush declared that “it’s not possible in a free country to completely control the border without us losing our freedoms and liberties.”

But he didn’t stop there:

He even suggested the mayor of Detroit — the economically depressed Midwestern city where he’s giving his first policy address of the 2016 campaign on Wednesday — use immigration to “repopulate” the city.

“It just seems to me that maybe if you open up our doors in a fair way and unleashed the spirit of peoples’ hard work, Detroit could become in really short order, one of the great American cities again,” Bush said then. “Now it would look different, it wouldn’t be Polish…But it would be just as powerful, just as exciting, just as dynamic. And that’s what immigration does and to be fearful of this, it just seems bizarre to me.”

Not the first time I’ve heard that idea about Detroit. Some free-market academics have been pushing it for years — give Detroit the power to issue visas to illegals on the condition that they reside in the city and find a job. You can imagine what that would do to the labor market for citizens there; you can also imagine what knowing that the city had essentially been earmarked for them would do to the cultural pressure on immigrants in Detroit to assimilate. A bad idea for several reasons, but Bush at least is consistent in his justifications. The economic glories of mass immigration are a staple of his rhetoric on this subject, up to and including him praising the fertility of immigrants because it broadens the tax base needed to sustain the welfare state. Makes me wonder: If “more immigrants” necessarily equals “more dynamic economy,” why does Jeb think we should, um, politely ask visa overstays to go home? They’re producing wealth! They’re having kids! That’s good for the economy, no?

As for what he said about DREAMers and citizenship, be as mad as you want but this will be the consensus position of the 2016 GOP field, possibly up to and including Ted Cruz. That’s what made it so odd that Huckabee took a beating for saying he supported citizenship for DREAM kids last week. Which would-be nominee would dare say otherwise knowing how strong Hillary is with Latino voters? The Fiscal Times, trying to stir a little extra controversy, noted that Bush’s support for DREAM citizenship means he’s on the same side as Obama’s 2012 executive amnesty for young illegals (a.k.a. DACA), which therefore means he’s at odds with the Republicans in Congress who are busy trying to repeal DACA and Obama’s November expansion. Well … yes and no. Bush called Obama’s November mega-amnesty “ill-advised,” “divisive,” and “manipulative” when O announced it; it’s possible to be pro-amnesty but anti-unconstitutional-executive-power-grabs. (Just ask Susan Collins.) On the other hand, Jeb’s recommendation for the GOP after the Obama amnesty was announced was to … pass comprehensive immigration reform, which is a little like saying that the legislature should react to an illegal presidential coup by passing an enabling act. If you think the solution to Obama’s power grabs is to ratify everything he wants by statute, how “opposed” to those power grabs are you really?

Anyway. Bush and his money men will make sure that he raises enough money to buy the nomination, so let’s try to make peace with these “interesting” little takes of his now.