At a prominent conference of education innovators, Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is considering a 2016 presidential run, called for more guest worker programs and a path to amnesty for all of the country’s illegal immigrants.
Speaking at what is known as the “Davos in the Desert” event in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Monday evening, Bush said the United States needed “robust guest worker programs” and an expansion of H1-B visas for the high-tech industry,” even though the notion that there is a shortage of American high-tech workers has been called a myth. He also called for a “tough but fair path to legalized status” for all of the country’s illegal immigrants and an end to immigration quotas for countries.
Bush said that it was not an “American value to have 12-13 million people living in the shadows” and spoke about the need to protect borders and sanction companies that may hire illegal immigrants.
He asserted that the “rags to riches rate” in the country is only four percent and that the American Dream is being replaced with “stickiness at both ends,” as those born either wealthy or poor are likely to remain so while the middle class feels the squeeze.
Bush has previously called illegal immigration “an act of love” and said the issue “shouldn’t rile people up.” Establishment Republican guru Karl Rove even conceded that Jeb Bush was not artful in those remarks. At the conference, which was co-hosted by Arizona State University and GSV Advisors, Bush made no reference to those prior comments, though he has previously defended them.