MIAMI (Reuters) – In a new book published on Tuesday former Florida Governor Jeb Bush seeks to claim the middle ground on the hot topic of immigration reform, proposing residency for undocumented immigrants but tough conditions for citizenship.
Bush‘s plan advocates against allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain citizenship unless they return to their country of origin first, according to an advance copy of the book “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution.”
“It is absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions have consequences – in this case, that those who have violated the laws can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship,” he writes in the book which was co-authored with conservative attorney Clint Bolick.
“To do otherwise would signal once again that people who circumvent the system can still obtain the full benefits of American citizenship. It must be a basic prerequisite for citizenship to respect the rule of law.”
Bush’s position surprised some immigration advocates, as well as fellow Republicans, who had expected him to come out with more lenient proposals.
“I’m surprised and very disappointed,” said Cheryl Little, director of Americans for Immigrant Justice, a Miami-based immigrant advocacy group. “It was my impression that Governor Bush has long been a champion of fair and humane immigration reform.”