Funny how it can take personal, familial experience for right-wingers to show some compassion on social issues. (See: Dick Cheney, father of a lesbian, breaking ranks with Bush on gay marriage.)
WASHINGTON—Accusing politicians of “pounding their chests” on immigration for short-term political gain, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Tuesday that the tone of the debate had been “hurtful” to him and his Mexican-born wife, Columba.
Bush, the younger brother of President Bush, reserved some of his sharpest criticism for conservatives in his own Republican Party, calling it “just plain wrong” to charge illegal immigrants with a felony, as a provision passed by the Republican-led House would do. He also opposed “penalizing the children of illegal immigrants” by denying them U.S. citizenship, an idea backed by some conservatives but not included in the legislation.
“My wife came here legally, but it hurts her just as it hurts me when people give the perception that all immigrants are bad,” the Florida governor wrote in an e-mail exchange with The Times.
Gov. Bush has generally avoided injecting himself into national political fights, and he rarely invokes his soft-spoken wife of 32 years in such a public way. But his comments reflect the concern among many Republicans that calls by conservatives for an immigrant crackdown risk alienating Latino voters.