Jeb Bush said while he supports granting birthright citizenship to the children of immigrants, the policy needs “greater enforcement” to prevent “abuse.” Appearing on Bill Bennett’s radio show Wednesday, the former Florida governor and current Republican presidential hopeful said he backs cracking down on potential exploitation of the immigration system.
“If there’s fraud or if there’s abuse, if people are bringing, pregnant women are coming in to have babies simply because they can do it, then there ought to be greater enforcement,” he said. “That’s the legitimate side of this. Better enforcement so that you don’t have these, you know, ‘anchor babies,’ as they’re described, coming into the country.”
Bush made similar remarks Tuesday, calling birthright citizenship a “constitutionally protected right,” but adding that there should be a “targeted way” to “solve abuses, of people coming into the country so their children can become citizens.”
Bush’s remarks came as a number of his fellow GOP candidates have voiced support for repealing or changing the 14th Amendment, which says all individuals born in the United States are citizens regardless of their parents’ citizenship status. The idea of repeal picked up traction with Republican candidates after business mogul Donald Trump included it in his immigration plan, calling birthright citizenship “the biggest magnet for illegal immigration.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker joined in on Monday, saying birthright citizenship should “absolutely” end. A number of other GOP candidates, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, have all called for changing or re-examining the policy.