Jeb Bush (emphasis added):

“A great country ought to know where those folks are and politely ask them to leave,” he said, adding later that properly targeting people who overstay visas “would restore people’s confidence” in the nation’s immigration system.

“There are means by which we can control our border better than we have. And there should be penalties for breaking the law,” he added. “But the way I look at this — and I’m going to say this, and it’ll be on tape and so be it. The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally, they come to our country because their families — the dad who loved their children — was worried that their children didn’t have food on the table. And they wanted to make sure their family was intact, and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime that there should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.”

Mickey Kaus calls it a “cunning strategy“:

Jeb’s Jejune Swoon: Why did Jeb Bush say those provocative, seemingly jejune things about illegal border crossing being “not a felony” but ” an act of love? Obviously it’s what he actually thinks. But, again, why did he say it? Two theories:

1) He’s running in 2016 and thinks he can compensate for giving amnesty to all the illegal border crossers (mainly from Mexico) by cracking down and even deporting visa-overstayers (who aren’t so  much from Latin America).  It’s a weak attempt to appease immigration hawks–but it’s also a double-pander to many Latinos, who (rightly) resent politicians who talk about building a Southern fence while ignoring the visa-overstay problem. Clever!  I don’t think the immigration hawks will be fooled, though, since Bush also endorsed the Gang of 8 bill, which legalizes instantly while postponing enforcement until later.

Or …

2) He’s not running, but he’s making space for Marco Rubio. Look at it this way: The GOP establishment is desperate to suppress Tea Party conservatives and also obtain the immigration amnesty they  believe will win Latinos and relieve them of the need to do too much rethinking in other areas. The problem for the establishment is lack of candidates. Rubio was a favorite, but he sabotaged himself among core Republican primary voters with his disingenuous, flip-floppy championing of the Gang of 8′s bill. That left Christie–but then Christie got caught in a traffic jam. That left Jeb, probably the establishment’s original choice–but it turns out that Jeb is still a Bush, and even the Bushes are sick of the Bushes. That leaves … well, Rubio again….

(Featured Image source: AP via KOIN)