The Washington Times - July 1, 2013, 08:32AM

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and a potential 2016 presidential candidate, says that House Republicans should improve and then pass the immigration bill that passed out of the Democrat-led Senate last week.

Mr. Bush and Clint Bollick, co-authors of “Immigration Wars,” said in a Wall Street Journal opinion article that GOP lawmakers would sell out basic conservative principles by opposing the bill.

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“No Republican would vote for legislation that stifled economic growth, promoted illegal immigration, added to the welfare rolls, and failed to ensure a secure border,” they said. “Yet they essentially will do just that if they fail to pass comprehensive immigration reform — and leave in place a system that does all of those things.”


SPECIAL COVERAGE: Immigration Reform


The Senate passed a bill on Thursday by a 68-32 vote — with 14 Republicans joining all 54 members of the Democratic caucus — that they said would stem illegal immigration while granting a path to citizenship for most of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the country.


SPECIAL COVERAGE: Immigration Reform


By putting a great emphasis on employment-based immigration, increasing the number of visas for highly skilled workers and offering a path to citizenship for those who were brought here illegally as children, Mr. Bush and Mr. Bollick argue, the Senate bill fill holes in system.


SPECIAL COVERAGE: Immigration Reform


They say the bill also “dramatically increases resources and tools for border security” and “does not provide amnesty.”


SPECIAL COVERAGE: Immigration Reform


Moving forward, they say, House lawmakers should strengthen the bill by bolstering the yardsticks used to measure border security, bolstering the E-Verify system to make sure that the people working here are doing so legally, and expanding the guest-worker program.


SPECIAL COVERAGE: Immigration Reform


Mr. Bush and Mr. Bollick said that the overhaul cannot be done in a piecemeal fashion — as many House Republicans have called for — because the key parts of the bill cannot be passed with Republican votes alone.


SPECIAL COVERAGE: Immigration Reform



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“That means compromise and a comprehensive approach — or the perpetuation of the status quo that has all of the detriments of amnesty without any of the economic benefits of reform,” they said.


SPECIAL COVERAGE: Immigration Reform


Coming out of the 2012 election, in which President Obama won re-election in part because of strong support from Hispanic voters, Mr. Bush and Mr. Bollick said immigration reform makes economic and political sense.


SPECIAL COVERAGE: Immigration Reform


“Immigration is not the only issue on which Hispanics or Asians vote,” they said. “But it is a gateway issue. Republicans have much in common with immigrants — beliefs in hard work, enterprise, family, education, patriotism and faith. But for their voice to penetrate the gateway, Republicans need to cease being the obstacle to immigration reform and instead point the way toward the solution.”


SPECIAL COVERAGE: Immigration Reform