Jeb Bush says he could, in fact, support a path to citizenship

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R), who seemed to back off his previous support for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants during an interview with NBC's "Today Show" early Monday, said in a later interview with NBC's Chuck Todd that he could support one under the right circumstances.

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"I think we need comprehensive reform, and if there is a path to citizenship that has enough of a realization that we have to respect the rule of law, then so be it," Bush said.

Earlier Monday, Bush seemed to agree with NBC's Matt Lauer when Lauer noted that his new book doesn't call for a path to citizenship.

Asked to explain why, Bush said: “Because our proposal is a proposal that looks forward. And if we want to create an immigration policy that’s going to work, we can’t continue to make illegal immigration an easier path than legal immigration. And so I think it’s important that there is a natural friction between our immigrant heritage and the rule of law.”

A spokesman for Bush told Post Politics that Bush's book doesn't, in fact, rule out a path to citizenship.

"The book provides a set of recommendations based on what is needed and what can generate bipartisan support," said the spokesman, Jaryn Emhof. "It is a comprehensive proposal, including a path to legal residency for those here illegally. The book does not prohibit individuals here illegally from ever earning citizenship."

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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Aaron Blake | March 4, 2013