Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is rejecting a "piecemeal" approach to overhauling the nation's immigration laws and advocates a comprehensive strategy similar to one that his brother, President George W. Bush, unsuccessfully pushed.
Jeb Bush's opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal on Friday is striking because it comes as some of his fellow Republicans - including other potential 2016 presidential candidates - start articulating their vision for an immigration overhaul.
It is also noteworthy because Bush, out of office since 2007, is held in high regard within the GOP and is one of the party's most respected voices when it comes to reaching out to Latinos.
"Some policymakers are calling for piecemeal changes - such as issuing visas for high-skilled workers and investors, or conferring legal status on immigrants who were illegally brought into the country as children. Congress should avoid such quick fixes and commit itself instead to comprehensive immigration reform," write Bush and Clint Bolick, a conservative lawyer. The two men are collaborating on a book about immigration, due out in March.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a Bush protégé often mentioned as a future White House aspirant, is expected to take a lead role on immigration this year. He has been giving interviews on his framework for changes, including calling for tighter enforcement of existing laws and the need for more visas for high-tech workers.
In their op-ed column, Bush and Bolick note that the word "comprehensive" when used in the context of revamping immigration laws became an "epithet - a code word for amnesty" in conservative circles. That's part of the reason why George W. Bush's immigration efforts became doomed in Congress.
Catalina Camia, USA TODAY