A prospective Republican Presidential candidate has thrown his weight behind support for increased skilled immigration to the US.
In his first major economic speech earlier this week, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the son of former President George Bush and brother of ex President George W Bush, stated his belief that the US economy should be growing by at least 4 per cent a year, and that increasing skilled immigration was the key to getting there.
Economists expect the US economy to expand 3 per cent this year, above the 2.2 per cent annual average experienced during the recovery from the global financial crisis. But Bush was adamant this could be improved by “dramatically expanding” the number of immigrants allowed to enter the country to work in high-need jobs
“While the political fights go on, we’re missing this opportunity,” Bush told an audience of around 600 business leaders in Detroit. “I view fixing a broken system as a huge opportunity to get to that four percent growth. We can grow by 4 percent through all sorts of policies, but immigration has to be a part of it.”
Of skilled guest workers, investors and inventors seeking to immigrate legally to the US,, he said, “All these people should be welcomed in our country, and the unwritten contract ought to be: Embrace our values and you can pursue your dreams.”
Although Bush’s speech did not refer directly to the roughly 11 million people living in the US illegally who current President Obama has evoked Executive Action to see them offered a pathway to citizenship, he has previously stated that he is open to allowing people in the country illegally to stay, but only after taking a series of steps, such as paying unpaid taxes.
The position puts him at odds with some of the Republican Party’s most passionate voters – who are strongly against such measures.