Jeb Bush continues to make headlines as he navigates the political minefield of immigration reform in the first summer of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Speaking in the border town of McAllen, Texas, Jeb Bush said he favors a so-called “pathway to citizenship,” as one component of comprehensive immigration reform, but disagrees with President Obama’s use of executive orders for that purpose vowing, “as president, I would go to Congress and change the law to give them citizenship.”

Bush, a younger brother of President George W. Bush and son of President H.W. Bush, was governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007,  is one of 17 candidates vying for the party’s nod for the 2016 election.

He has drawn criticism for controversial comments about the hot button topic since he announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, drawing harsh comments early on from fellow Republicans early in the campaign for refusing to characterize illegal immigration as a felony.

“They crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony, it’s an act of love.”

The candidate added that while violating federal immigration is a crime and merits a penalty, it should not be a felony.

Bush has acknowledged that his stance is not in line with the majority of Republican voters, noting when he made his “act of love” statement, “I’m going to say this and it’ll be on tape and so be it.”

More recently, Bush was attacked by mainstream media for using the term “anchor babies” to refer to children born in the U.S. of primarily Asian mothers who come to the country late in their pregnancy for the specific purpose of securing the benefits of American citizenship for their children. The U.S. is the only advanced country other than Canada to grant automatic citizenship to children born within its territory, regardless of the status of its parents.

Bush, who met his wife, Columba Garnica Gallo, in Mexico while still in college, often gives speeches in Spanish and did so in McAllen calling rival Donald Trump’s vow to build a fence along the entire U.S.-Mexican border unrealistic.

“His plan is not grounded in conservative principles and will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. You have to have a much deeper strategy than just building a fence,” Bush said, echoing the proposals of other candidates, like Dr. Ben Carson, who favor the use of GPS and drone technology in conjunction with a physical fence at the border.

The border at McAllen is at the center of the immigration crisis as hundreds of thousands of Central American immigrants surge through the border seeking entry into the United States.



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