The Slatest

Jeb Bush: U.S. Economy Needs Immigrants Because They’re “More Fertile”

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush used a novel argument when speaking in favor of immigration reform. The U.S. economy would benefit from increased immigration because immigrants work harder and are “more fertile,” he said, in what CNN qualifies as “an inarticulate reference to immigrants’ feritility rates, which data show are higher than native-born Americans.”

“Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans,” Bush said to a crowd of conservative activists on Friday at the annual Faith and Freedom 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.”

Bush said that demographic data shows the number of Americans entering retirement can’t be sustained by a shrinking workforce. Part of the answer, he argued, is in immigration. “This is a conservative idea,” he said. “If we do this we will rebuild our country in a way that will allow us to grow. If we don’t do it we will be in decline, since productivity of this country is dependent upon young people who are equipped to work hard.”

The former governor received a “polite standing ovation,” notes CNN. Bush, who is married to a Mexican-born immigrant, has long advocated for comprehensive immigration reform.