The former two-term Florida governor has criticized his party and has urged GOP leaders to embrace reform and improve outreach to minority and immigrant voters. But rather than a pathway to citizenship, Bush, along with many other Republicans, is pushing for a path to legal permanent residency for many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
Their proposal would limit the family preference system that now allows the brothers, sisters and parents of legal residents to emigrate. Instead, they would expand visas available to entrepreneurs, to high-skilled workers with advanced math and science degrees, and to low-skilled workers needed to fill agricultural and other jobs. They would also give states the power to increase enforcement of federal laws and to limit or cut social services for illegal immigrants.
When asked if he would run in 2016, Bush said "that's way off in the future. I have a voice. I want to share my beliefs about how the conservative moment and the Republican Party can regain its footing, because we've lost our way." When host Matt Lauer pressed the issue and asked whether he would rule out a run, Bush replied "I won't. But I won't declare it today either."
On Tuesday Bush will do an interview with CNN's Jake Trapper, then at the end of the week he'll head to Florida for the Republican National Committee's quarterly finance meetings.
Next week Bush will speak at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference, a popular launching point for Republicans considering runs for the White House. CPAC is the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists, and its annual GOP presidential nomination straw poll is considered a key indicator of party sentiment.
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