Jeb Bush says immigrants are 'more fertile'


Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush testifies before the House Budget Committee in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill June 1, 2012 in Washington, DC. The committee members engaged in a wide-ranging debate about tax and spending policy during the hearing titiled, 'Removing The Barriers To Free Enterprise And Economic Growth.'


Chip Somodevilla

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said Wednesday that the United States should pass immigration reform because the economy needs young laborers and immigrants are "more fertile."

"Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans," Bush said at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to the Majority conference. "Immigrants are more fertile, and they love families, and they have more intact families, and they bring a younger population. Immigrants create an engine of economic prosperity."

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Bush, the younger brother of former President George W. Bush, is married to a Mexican-born immigrant and is a longtime advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. He said the US has an advantage over China, Europe and Japan, since they don't have the same number of immigrants coming in and struggle to find young laborers.

"If we don't do it, we will be in decline, because the productivity of this country is dependent upon young people that are equipped to be able to work hard," Bush noted.

He also said immigrants should have to pay a fine, learn English and be excluded from receiving welfare benefits before getting legal status.

Bush was one of several potential presidential candidates at the religiously conservative conference in Washington.