Jeb Bush has joined the exclusive "I was for it before I was against it before I was for it" club. He became a member by saying Tuesday on MSNBC that he would support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants if it can be done without creating "an incentive for people to come illegally."
The real problem for Bush, however, isn't his triple flip. It's that he couched his opposition to a path to citizenship as a matter of deeply held principle.
"It is absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions have consequences -- in this case, that those who violated the law can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship. To do otherwise would signal once again that people who circumvent the system can still obtain the full benefits of American citizenship," Bush and co-author Clint Bolick write in Immigration Wars, their new book.
Making sure there's no incentive to attract more illegal immigrants is different from making sure that "actions have consequences" for the estimated 11 million people already living in the United States without documents. Many at the center of the debate in Washington, including a bipartisan Senate group working on comprehensive immigration reform, have moved past the fairness/amnesty question to a more pragmatic approach.