For George P. Bush, the nephew of the former U.S. President, George W. Bush, the Latino vote “has a critical importance in the national election, specifically in states like Florida, Nevada and Colorado,” and he has a message for the dreamers, “keep dreaming” to reach U.S. citizenship.
George P. Bush participated last week in a “Super Saturday,” a day when volunteers call and canvass swing-state voters. He later spoke to VOXXI on immigration and the importance of the Latino vote in the next election. He is a U.S. Navy Reserve and according to him, dreamers have an opportunity to become U.S. citizens through military service.
“There are proposals that are coming from the Republican Party, that relate to the possibility for military service, for other forms of community service, that would allow for children of undocumented immigrants to become U.S. citizens,” said Bush during the interview.
Q&A with George P. Bush
VOXXI: You are here to help the Romney campaign. So what’s going on today here in Miami?
George P. Bush: Well, I’m here to basically support the governor and thank all of his supporters here in South Florida. As is always the case, every four years Florida is at the eye of the political storm. So just wanting to really just thank the supporters, the volunteers that make a campaign come together. Without their efforts, without supporters of the governor, that he has throughout the state, a campaign couldn’t be conducted. So I’m here to thank them on behalf of the Bush family and on behalf of all Republicans throughout the country.
VOXXI: The latest surveys say that Romney has an advantage above Barack Obama. Are you optimistic on that?
George P. Bush: I am. I’m optimistic. But as a member of the Bush family, I know that you can never take any votes for granted, and you’ve got to work for every single vote. So that’s why we’re here in Florida, Ohio, Virginia. If we can carry those three states, we think we will win the election. So the polling data indicates a nice, positive trend for the governor, but we’re going to be working hard until the last day.
VOXXI: What points or guidelines does Mitt Romney take from your uncle, from George Bush?
George P. Bush: Well, no direct points. They don’t have a direct line of communication. But if anything, it’s just to lay out a very fundamental and clear vision for where to take our country and to put it back on track so that we can achieve 4 percent GDP growth, deal with the $16 trillion debt, and get our unemployment rate lower to where it should be. We had 42 months of over 8 percent unemployment. So focusing on economic questions, which is where most Americans are concerned, I think will be the winning message.
VOXXI: Next Monday is the last presidential debate. Do you think it will be definitive for both candidates?
George P. Bush: I think it will be similar to what we saw in the last debate, where it’s very forceful, very energetic and very passionate, and that’s the way a debate should be so that we lay out a very clear vision. But when it comes to foreign policy, my hope is that the governor focuses more on the incident in Benghazi, which he’s beginning to do, and demonstrating that we can’t take the threats against the United States for granted. There are people in this world that are against our values, against our history, and against our country. So we need a foreign policy that’s clear and concise in the Middle East during this Arab Spring.
VOXXI: Mr. Bush, you’re here in Miami, this is a Hispanic place. What do you think about the Hispanic population, and do you think that it will be important for the next election?
George P. Bush: The Hispanic vote always has a critical importance in the national election, specifically in states like Florida, Nevada, and Colorado, that will have a meaningful impact on the national cycle. So Governor Romney, through Juntos con Romney, has created a group that’s focused on earning media, visiting with voters, and talking directly to the Hispanic community, whether it’s Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Mexican-American, to talk about the governor’s track record when he was in office, in addition to his vision if he were to be elected President of the United States. I think we’re having some impact and making some inroads in the community.
VOXXI: What does Spanish language represent for you? You father, former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, speaks Spanish very well. And you?
George P. Bush: (In Spanish) More or less. I have to practice (Spanish) in Texas. English is the first language everywhere but I’m proud of my Hispanic heritage. When I have the chance, I use it.
VOXXI: You have spoken about the Mexican-American and the Cuban-American. What do you think about immigration? Is that an important topic in this election?
George P. Bush: It is an absolutely important topic. But let’s be very honest and realistic that we can’t solve the problem before Election Day, and right now the rhetoric is basically focused on scoring political points as to actually solving the problem. My viewpoint is very optimistic in that, regardless of who the next president is, we’ll create a comprehensive solution to the problem. It’s such a complicated one. It’s going to be a bipartisan effort. Both Republicans and Democrats are going to have to solve it.
But I am a George W. Bush Republican on this issue. He was the president that actually tried to pass a comprehensive bill that was extremely close to being passed in the Congress when he was President of the United States, and it focused really on three things: first the national security perspective of it, understanding who’s coming in and out of our country, because our immigration system is fundamentally broken. Secondly, a guest worker program. We used to have the Bracero Program, which was successful, where you had temporary labor that services jobs that the average American does not have an interest in serving. You look at the rate of illegal immigration during the Bracero Program, it was low because temporary laborers knew that there was a system by which they could come to the country, earn a living, pay their taxes, and be a part of the system. Then finally, what to do with the 12 million folks that are already here, of undocumented status, and figuring out a system by which if they pay back taxes, demonstrate an interest in American culture, a basic knowledge of English, that there should be ways in which we can look at an opportunity for them to become residents in our country.
VOXXI: What is your message for the dreamers?
George P. Bush: My message to dreamers is to keep dreaming. There are, I think, proposals right now that are coming from the Republican Party that are exciting that relate to the possibility for military service, for other forms of community service that would allow for children of undocumented immigrants to become US citizens. This is what Senator Rubio has been talking about. This is what Hispanic Republicans have been talking about. In my great state of Texas, we’re looking at ways, and we already have a Dream Act in place whereby a child of undocumented parents can obtain instate tuition. Whether it’s foreign born or US born Hispanics, the number one reason why we don’t obtain college education is because of affordability of education. So that’s I think the stronger criteria that we have to look at is ways to make it more affordable and encourage military service. I’m a member of the military, and I would encourage young Latinos to look at it as a career choice as well.
VOXXI: Are you thinking of becoming a political person as your uncle, George Bush, or your father?
George P. Bush: Well, I’m drawn to it. I love politics. I love public service. I serve my country now. I’m in the military, which is my form of public service. But if the opportunity arises, we’ll see. But for right now, I’m enjoying helping out the governor.