Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is scheduled Monday to visit the U.S.-Mexico border to discuss immigration and border security policy with local officials as well as to draw a line of contrast with the current Republican presidential front-runner, Donald Trump. The two men have had increasingly pointed exchanges over the last few weeks as they work for their party's nomination, and Bush is hoping to drive home the differences between his immigration plan and Trump's.
Trump has seen a surge in the polls since he tossed his hat into the ring two months ago. Much of that has been attributed, at least on the part of Trump, to his willingness to talk about the contentious issue of immigration reform. Bush, for his part, has tried to label Trump's plan as wasteful and unrealistic.
In a release provided to reporters ahead of Monday's event, Bush's team made clear that contrasting the two politicians was a main goal of the day trip. Bush is the "only candidate in the presidential field who has put forward a serious, conservative, comprehensive set of solutions to fix our broken immigration system. His plan stands in stark contrast to the $500 billion-plus plan offered by Donald Trump," they wrote.
The trip to McAllen, Texas, was first scheduled weeks ago to be a fundraising trip, according to the Washington Post. The campaign originally argued that since Bush has made border trips before he wouldn't necessarily need to do so again. But recently he decided he needed to revisit the issue.
His massive inconsistencies aside, @realDonaldTrump’s immigration plan is not conservative and does not reflect our nation's values.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) August 21, 2015
"Mr. Trump does not have a proven conservative record," Bush said last week during a town hall event in Merrimack, New Hampshire, while Trump held a competing event about 20 miles away. "We're a conservative party, aren't we, the Republican party? I think what people are eventually going to vote for is a proven conservative leader that's done it -- not talked about it -- that's actually done it. And I have a proven [conservative] record -- consistent, proven, conservative record."
Bush has notably reimagined his immigration stance after years of supporting a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the country. In his 2013 book, "Immigration Wars," he softened his views while attempting to "create a blueprint for conservatives who were reluctant to embrace comprehensive reform, to give them, perhaps, a set of views that they could embrace," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation" following the book's release. Later that year, he penned an op-ed supporting legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship. After becoming an official candidate this year, Bush said he no longer supports a pathway to citizenship but rather prefers "earned legal status."
Trump recently released his immigration reform policy paper, which called for building a wall to separate the United States and Mexico, and to deport all of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. He proposed that he would make Mexico pay for the wall but did not provide logistical details for how he would execute the deportations.
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