(WASHINGTON) — Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush told ABC’s This Week that he is “in sync” with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham on the immigration reform issue. This following an incident on Monday when Bush said he disagreed with a key component of the plan.
Graham, a leading member of the bipartisan group of senators pushing for immigration reform, took Bush to task after the Bush said Monday that he did not support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, major part of the plan.
Bush repented on This Week and said he could in fact support a plan that included a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already living in the United States.
“Senator Graham and I talked,” Bush said. “I told him that I support his efforts and I applaud what he’s doing.
“The basic premise needs to be that coming to the country legally should be easier with less cost than coming to the country illegally. And if you can create a system like that as is being discussed in the Senate and in the House– through a path to citizenship, that’s fine,” Bush said. “But my guess is that will take a long, long time to achieve. In the interim, it’s important to take people out from the shadows to allow them to have– the dignity of being– having legal status.”
Florida governor Jeb Bush told me that he was “very encouraged” about the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform – a legislative achievement that has eluded lawmakers for more than a decade — becoming law by the end of the year.
“There are some big sticking points about how do you deal with making sure that there’s enough seasonal workers, temporary worker programs that have been quite successful in the past,” Bush said. “There’s a lot of work being done, really good work, courageous work, ’cause this is complex and may not be popular, but I think it’s– it is possible that comprehensive reform can be done.”
Bush also insisted that he is not positioning himself for a 2016 presidential run as he promotes his new book Immigration Wars, even as speculation grows that he aims to be the third member of the Bush family to occupy the oval office.
“I’m not viewing this as a political reentry either. I just don’t view it that way,” Bush said. “Everything’s viewed with a political lens in Washington and that’s just the nature of the beast and it is what it is.”
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Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Stephen Collinson and Eric Bradner, CNN