Jeb Bush confronted over his stance on Obama’s immigration actions

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has said he opposes President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. But over the weekend, he went a step further and…
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Over the weekend, a dreamer confronted former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in Iowa over his stance on Obama’s executive actions on immigration. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has said he opposes President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. But over the weekend, he went a step further and said he would repeal the president’s actions, which he likened to the actions of a “Latin American dictator.”

Following the Iowa Ag Summit on Saturday, Monica Reyes, a dreamer from Iowa, asked Bush in Spanish: “Will it be your priority to end DACA and DAPA?” She was referring to the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which Obama first announced in 2012 and expanded to benefit more immigrants in November.

Bush responded in Spanish by saying he supports giving dreamers priority to become citizens but that it should be done by law rather than by decree “because that’s like a Latin American dictator.”

SEE ALSO: Obama sees immigration as a modern-day civil rights issue

Reyes pressed Bush on whether he stood by comments he recently made at CPAC, where he said one of his top priorities of his first 100 days if elected president would be “undoing what the president has done using authority he doesn’t have.”

“You recently said that you would do away with that program, DACA,” Reyes told Bush.

“Exactly, and pass a law so there’s permanence,” Bush responded. “What DACA does is it’s only for two years, that’s all. The problem continues after that.”

After the exchange between Bush and Reyes, reporters asked the former Florida governor to clarify if he would repeal Obama’s executive actions on immigration. But he sidestepped the question.

“We need to change the law,” he told reporters. “That’s exactly what I said this afternoon. We need to do this by law, not by executive order.”

Bush has said he supports immigration reform that includes a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants. He repeated that message Saturday at the Iowa Ag Summit when he said, “Immigrants that are here need to have a path to legalized status.”

SEE ALSO: Jeb Bush tries to sway conservatives to support immigration reform

His position on immigration sets him apart from other possible Republican presidential candidates. But his latest threat to repeal Obama’s executive actions on immigration has some immigration advocates worried.

Reyes said in a statement that dreamers, like her, who are protected from deportation and received work permits through the DACA program would be greatly impacted if the program ended.

“With DACA I have managed to provide a better living for myself, my mother, and my siblings,” Reyes said.

She also said Bush and other politicians who want to reverse Obama’s immigration actions “need to realize that they will not secure any Latino votes.” She explained that’s because many Latino voters are either related to or have friends who are undocumented and would benefit from the president’s immigration programs.

“Taking away DACA and DAPA would mean seeing these family members or friends ripped out of the communities that they themselves helped build and are a positive part of,” she said.

SEE ALSO: Dreamers interrupt Rick Perry, Chris Christie at Iowa summit