The politics over illegal immigration has radically changed as both parties see the issue as key to attracting the hispanic vote in the next election. A measure of that change was evident on Sunday when Former Florida governor Jeb Bush said Sunday that many who illegally come to the United States do so out of an “act of love” for their families while Democrats are pushing to stopping deportations all together.
Bush is positioning himself for a possible presidential run. In a speech closed to the press, Bush insisted that illegal immigration should not be viewed as a true criminal act:
“I’m going to say this, and it’ll be on tape and so be it. The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally, they come to our country because their families — the dad who loved their children — was worried that their children didn’t have food on the table. And they wanted to make sure their family was intact, and 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. It’s an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime that there should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.”
The political pitch for hispanic votes has triggered a race between the parties to outdo each other. With each proposal, the other party appears intent to go further. The Democrats now are calling, in the words of Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL), “to heal families that have been caught up in the almost two million deportations we have seen in recent years.” This has been taken to mean the actual return of previously deported individuals to reunite families.
And the election is still two years away.