Jeb Bush takes his fellow candidates to Immigration 101 class at the Republican debate

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush gave his fellow Republican presidential candidates an elementary lesson on immigration at the last debate before the South Carolina primary.

After a moderator asked whether the immigration debate was insufficiently compassionate, Bush responded with a nuanced understanding of why immigrants enter the U.S. without proper authorization.


“The great majority of people that come to this country come because they have no other choice,” Bush answered at the debate, hosted by CBS News in Greenville, South Carolina. “These are people coming to provide for their families, and we should show a little more respect for the fact that they're struggling.”

Bush said he would control the border and create policies that allow officials to “pick who comes to our country.” He stressed that he did not support allowing people to enter without authorization.


“They want to come to provide for their families,” he said. “That doesn't mean it's right.”

Bush referred to the action of entering the United States without proper documentation as illegal but never referred to immigrants themselves as illegal.

On the other hand, The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel, one of the moderators, used the slurs “illegals” and “illegal aliens” in her question to refer to people living in the U.S. without proper authorization.

Fusion, like The Associated Press, the largest news-gathering outlet in the world, does not use the term "illegal immigrant" to describe a person unless it is part of a quote. The term is neither neutral nor accurate.


Bush, whose wife was born in Mexico, also criticized Donald Trump for comments made last June claiming Mexican immigrants were rapists.

“They're not all rapists, as you-know-who said,” Bush said.

Bush has said that as president he would overturn President Obama's executive actions that offer certain immigrants temporarily relief from deportation. The former governor has said he favors comprehensive immigration reform.