Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he supports both a path to citizenship or legal residency for the more than 11 million people living in the United States illegally.
"You have to deal with this issue. You can't ignore it, and so either a path to citizenship, which I would support--and that does put me probably out of the mainstream of most conservatives--or ... a path... to residency of some kind," he said during an interview last week with Charlie Rose on CBS.
Bush's position diverges from that of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who oppposes amnesty, supports the use of e-verify to stop businesses from hiring illegal immigrants, and has promised to build a "high-tech" fence to help secure the border.
Bush said he agreed with Romney on the need to secure the border and the importance of raising the number of work visas available for high-skilled workers. But he warns that the tone of the immigration debate among Republicans is "shortsighted."
"It sends a signal," Bush said. "We want your support, but you can't join our team."
There needs to be a realistic way of dealing with people who are here illegally, he said.
Bush said that Congress was "stuck" on immigration because of failings within both parties.