Former Governor Jeb Bush characterized illegal immigration as "an act of love" and likened it to an effort by parents to feed their children and provide for their children's needs. Bush proclaimed that illegal immigration is "not a felony" and that such immigrants should be treated differently than people who "overstay their visas," according to The Washington Post on March 7.
Bush commended a recent bipartisan bill before Congress as a "good effort" at addressing the issue of immigrants who overstay their visas and ensuring that it does not happen again. Bush stated:
"A great country ought to know where those folks are and politely ask them to leave."
Bush described the bipartisan bill as one that will "restore people's confidence" in America's immigration system. Although Bush reiterated that there ought to be "penalties for breaking the law," he sharply contrasted the immigrants who overstay their visas to those who come here in earnest to feed their families and regularly provide food for their families. Bush portrayed the latter group of immigrants as doing such as "an act of love."
Bush is not the only likely Presidential candidate in 2016 who has portrayed compassion for illegal immigrant families. Governor Rick Perry in 2012 defended a bill enabling illegal immigrants to pay in state tuition:
“If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they have been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart."
Do these latest developments signal a change in the hard core, stringent policies of the mainstream Republican Party, or does it simply exemplify the wayward views of a couple of likely 2016 Republican Presidential candidates gone astray? The political events of the next few months will provide at least a partial answer as the likely candidates solidify their support base and finalize their positions on the issues.