Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) told a conservative conference on Friday that comprehensive immigration reform could be turn around a trend of lower birth rates in the U.S. because "immigrants are more fertile."
"Demography is destiny," Bush explained to the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority conference. "We're going to have fewer workers taking care of a larger number of people that the country has a social contract with to be able to allow them to retire with dignity and purpose. We cannot do that with the fertility rates that we have in our country. We're below break-even today."
"The one way that we can rebuild the demographic pyramid is to fix a broken immigration system to allow for people to come, to learn English, to play by our rules, to embrace our values and to pursue their dreams in our country with a vengeance, to create more opportunities for all of us," he continued. "This is a conservative idea."
"Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans over the last 20 years. Immigrants are more fertile. And they love families and they have more intact families and they bring a younger population."
Bush said that a comprehensive plan should include securing the border, narrowing the ability of immigrants to petition for extended family members to come to the U.S. and expanding the number of guest workers. He also called a "path to legal status" for the undocumented immigrants who were already in the country, but the former governor did not mention a path to citizenship.