A new book written by Jeb Bush, in which the former governor of Florida argues that millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. should never have the opportunity to become American citizens, will likely have a big effect on the immigration reform debate within the Republican Party.
Bush could be one of the leading contenders for the GOP nomination in 2016 if he chooses to be a candidate. He is regarded within the Republican Party as a liberal voice on immigration. He has supported immigration reform for a long time and previously supported a path towards citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants now living illegally in the U.S.
However, in his new book, Immigration Wars, the former Florida governor, proposes a new plan that says the 11 million or at least those who entered the U.S. illegally when they were adults could receive legal status but never have the right to become an American citizen. The only exception would be if they were willing to return to their homeland and wait to return to the U.S. in a legal manner.
Under the proposal by Bush, those who came to the U.S. illegally when they were adults and have committed no crimes would have to plead guilty to committing illegal entry. After pleading guilty, those immigrants would then be fined or receive community service.
Once the fine has been paid or community service performed, the immigrant would be eligible to start a process to earn legal permanent residency. In order to be eligible they must learn to speak English, pay their taxes and not commit any crimes, wrote Bush. However, Bush insists in his book that permanent residency for them should not be a path to citizenship, which is a much harsher opinion than what Bush has held in the past.