Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and possible contender in the 2016 presidential election, said that immigrants capture the entrepreneurial spirit of America and "people who come here - legally and illegally - are risk takers."
"If you're living in a rural area of Guatemala and you come, you're a bigger risk taker than those who stay," Bush said, adding, "Legal immigration, based on the needs for our country, should be easier than illegal immigration."
He made the remarks Friday while speaking to approximately 900 business leaders at a Broward County breakfast workshop.
From the Miami Herald:
Bush has advocated for pathways to citizenship and residency for illegal immigrants, enhanced border security and immigrant tracking technology and an emphasis on admitting immigrants based on the nation's needs, not family relationships with current U.S. citizens.
Bush also praised Common Core education, a view that puts him at odds with many parents. "Trust me, it is very controversial," he said, but he told the crowd that Common Core's standards are "benchmarked to the rest of the world," and require higher level critical thinking, language arts and math.
He said those who oppose Common Core support the "status quo," oppose testing and are worried too much about children's self-esteem.
"Let me tell you something. In Asia today, they don't care about children's self-esteem. They care about math, whether they can read - in English - whether they understand why science is important, whether they have the grit and determination to be successful," Bush said.
"You tell me which society is going to be the winner in this 21st Century: The one that worries about how they feel, or the one that worries about making sure the next generation has the capacity to eat everybody's lunch?"
Bush hasn't announced if he plans to run for President and didn't comment on the topic. However, his warm embrace of these two controversial topics will not win him friends on the conservative right.
Bush doesn't seem to mind. "I was the kind of the 'Eat Your Broccoli' Governor," Bush said, pointing out that his policies haven't always been sweet.
While conservatives disagree with Bush on Common Core education, it turns out the former Florida governor has an unlikely ally: Hillary Clinton. She spoke yesterday about the "need to increase access to quality education, including through community colleges or vocational schools" at an education conference organized by Jeb Bush, Politico reported:
Clinton praised Bush as someone "who really focused on education during his time as governor in Florida, and who has continued that work with passion and dedication in the years since."