Rivals Rip Bush on Immigration, Schools: GOP Front-Runner Clarifies Views on Reimbursing States for Cost of Illegal Aliens

By Hallow, Ralph Z. | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 10, 1999 | Go to article overview

Rivals Rip Bush on Immigration, Schools: GOP Front-Runner Clarifies Views on Reimbursing States for Cost of Illegal Aliens


Hallow, Ralph Z., The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


George W. Bush's rivals are targeting his positions on immigration and education.

The Texas governor said last week that he thought it was not the federal government's responsibility to reimburse California for billions of dollars in annual costs of caring for illegal immigrants.

In a statement released Wednesday, however, his campaign said Mr. Bush had "misunderstood" a reporter's question about reimbursing states for all the costs of illegal immigration.

"He thought the question was about whether the federal government should reimburse for costs of education funding," it said.

As president, he "would allocate additional resources to enforcing the border, so states such as Texas and California would not have the huge expenses they currently do. [He] understands the current federal-reimbursement programs may not be adequate and will work with Congress and those states to improve them." This drew a derisive retort from fellow candidate Steve Forbes. "It looks like he is still working with his tutors," he said in a telephone interview yesterday after addressing 25,000 black ministers at the National Baptist Convention in Tampa. "It's absolutely the federal government's responsibility to defend the borders and reimburse states when they incur costs."

Gary Bauer, education undersecretary in the Reagan administration, criticized Bush proposals to expand the federal Department of Education's role that the Texas governor also unveiled last week.

"Typical of big-government conservatives, Mr. Bush borrows liberally from ideas held dear by Democrats," Mr. Bauer said.

Mr. Forbes compared the Bush education plans to something Vice President Al Gore might advocate. "It's simply `Gore Light,' " Mr. Forbes said. "It gives more power to the federal government."

Cecillia Monoz, vice president for policy of the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy group, said that Mr. …

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