Is Immigration A Poison Pill? Jeb Bush and Pathway to Citizenship
National Journal | March 23, 2015
Jeb Bush has committed himself to testing a critical question that each of the GOP’s past two presidential nominees would not: whether support for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship is a poison pill in the GOP primary.
In the process, Bush is forcing a debate that will gauge how much the party’s current coalition is willing to change its agenda to court new voters.
Though congressional Republicans have shelved discussion of immigration reform, Bush’s recent indication that he still supports a pathway to citizenship for some of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants guarantees that the GOP will confront the issue more directly in its upcoming presidential race than in 2008 or 2012. The coming skirmishes will likely determine whether the eventual GOP nominee can reconsider hard-line party positions on immigration that have alienated the growing Hispanic population that is now central to the modern Democratic coalition.