Jeb Bush on White House DACA Citizenship Plan: ‘Consistency’ Not Trump’s Strength

WASHINGTON – In response to President Trump’s latest proposal to spare Deferred Action for the Childhood Arrivals beneficiaries from deportation, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told PJM that Trump’s “strengths are not his consistency.”

Trump’s plan would offer a path to citizenship to 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children in exchange for federal funding of additional barriers or “walls” along the southwest border as well as limits on family reunification, or “chain migration,” and elimination of the visa lottery.

PJM asked Bush for his opinion of Trump’s immigration proposal after the president criticized Bush during the 2016 presidential campaign for saying undocumented immigrants come to the U.S. out of an “act of love.”

“The president’s strengths are not his consistency,” Bush said after an event Friday at the American Enterprise Institute in which he touted the benefits of school choice programs, citing Florida as an example.

In August 2015, during the Republican presidential primary, Trump slammed Bush for his “act of love” statement and ran an advertisement focused on Bush’s comments.

“Jeb Bush doesn't have a clue, doesn't even have a clue and if I weren't in this campaign, Jeb Bush would not be talking about illegal immigration. If you remember he said they come as an act of love. OK? Tell that to the families – and there are many, many families who lost a loved one. Act of love. OK? There's no act of love. It's tough stuff. It's mean stuff. And it's going to be taken care of,” Trump said at the time.

“A lot of the gangs that you see in Baltimore and in St. Louis and Ferguson and Chicago, you know they're illegal immigrants. They're here illegally. And they're rough dudes. Rough people. They're going to be gone so fast if I win that your head will spin. They'll be gone so fast,” he added.

Trump’s immigration proposal covers the estimate of those who are eligible for DACA as well as those currently registered in the program, which provides work permits. Trump’s plan offers a path to citizenship in 10-12 years if certain requirements are met.

When PJM asked Bush if he thought Trump’s DACA proposal was a “good deal” overall, Bush responded, “I think the number of DACA folks is 800,000. I don’t know how you go from 800 to 1.8 [million]. I haven’t seen the details of it.”

Last year, Bush urged the Trump administration not to repeal Obama’s executive order that established DACA.

“I believe President Obama’s immigration executive orders were unconstitutional, but it would also be unconscionable to repeal DACA without ensuring Congress provides a legislative solution. Congress must act urgently to provide Dreamers certainty, through the BRIDGE Act and other legislative options that provide a path to legal status for children brought to the United States illegally,” Bush posted on Facebook.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted his opposition to Trump’s offer on immigration.

“As we have been urging him to do for months, the President has finally put pen to paper to show us where he stands on immigration. Unfortunately, this plan flies in the face of what most Americans believe,” he tweeted on Friday. “While @realDonaldTrump finally acknowledged that the Dreamers should be allowed to stay here and become citizens, he uses them as a tool to tear apart our legal immigration system and adopt the wish list that anti-immigration hardliners have advocated for years.”

In response, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders wrote, “Actually @SenSchumer America's legal immigration system has been torn apart for decades by Washington politicians like yourself who prefer open borders & sanctuary cities over law & order and popular, common sense reforms.”