If Jeb Bush cares about conservative voters he’s doing a great job hiding it. In recent months he’s doubled down on his support for the Common Core and basically announced that he wholeheartedly supports amnesty for illegals.
We need young, dynamic people that can make an immediate contribution to our economy. We shouldn’t be fearful of this. We should say what an incredible opportunity. And so I would hope that that mentality of shifting this to an economic issue rather than a political issue will be helpful. And it starts with regaining confidence that the federal government can enforce the border. They need to secure the border first and foremost. There’s no denying that. And that ought to be the highest priority.
I don’t think the president should use his executive authority where he has gone beyond his constitutional powers. That creates a greater doubt as well. I don’t think that people are totally confident that the e-Verify system we have in place right down is working to the extent that it needs to so we need to fix that.
I know for a fact that people are surprised that 40% of the undocumented workers, undocumented people in our country have come with a legal visa and they just overstayed their time. A great country ought to figure out a way to deal with that issue. So once we got that done, then it seems to me that we ought to say how do we be strategic about this and how do we create high sustained economic growth? And that’s to shift away from family reunification being almost the sole driver of legal immigration to narrowing that to what every other country has, spouse and minor children, and dramatically expanding immigrants that are coming to work. A guest worker program to deal in the areas where there are shortages.
The high skills agenda that is desperately important for us where H-1B1 visa holders languish and don’t get, don’t get their status improved. Investors, DREAMers, people that come to our great universities, all these people should be welcomed in our country and the unwritten contract ought to be embrace our values, and you can pursue your dreams in this great country. And by doing so you’re creating opportrtunity for more people. Because if we don’t do that, 10 years from now, I’m guessing, and I hope this is the case that everybody in this room will be 10 years older. And family formation rates in this country are at an all time low. And birth rates are below breakeven. There are more single women than married women in this country for the first time in our history. Our demography could be huge strength for high sustained economic growth, or if we do nothing of it will end up becoming a significant problem. It may not be as bad as Japan or as Europe as a significant problem.
So shifting this to an economic driver I think is important and there’s one other thing that I think is really important and that is we see the struggles of immigration in places like Japan where race is the identifier basically of national identity. Or Europe where there are many immigrants that come but they’re not necessarily embraced as full Europeans were full French or German or whatever. The American experience works when people embrace a set of shared values. It doesn’t work when we divide ourselves up in our disparate parts.
So I would urge every state to focus on how do we expand civics education as well. We should love our country. We should embrace our heritage and we should encourage immigrants to do so as well. And that will reestablish this unique American experience which is you come, you work hard, you embrace these values and you’re as American as anybody who came in the Mayflower. That’s the America that will yield great, great results.