Republican presidential nomination candidate Jeb Bush declared on Tuesday that multiculturalism is not good for the United States. The former Florida governor, who is seen as one of the Republican Party’s best chances of winning the Latino vote, says that immigrants who refuse to assimilate into American culture are also cutting off their own chances of reaping economic rewards.
Bush was speaking to people in a crowded diner in Northern Iowa when he was asked how the government could assist refugees to become a part of American society. “We should not have a multicultural society,” Bush told the young woman, before going on to clarify that pockets of isolation, within which the assimilation process has become retarded, are wrong for both the United States and for the way in which they limit the individuals’ aspirations.
Although Bush’s comments initially seem contrary to the manner in which he has conducted himself throughout his presidential campaign, and in contrast to other candidates regarding immigration, Bush clarified his comments later to the Associated Press as meaning that to him multiculturalism represents a failure to aspire to the American ideal. “You have to have people assimilate into society,” he noted. “But that doesn’t mean we have a monolithic, homogeneous population. To the contrary, the power of America is a set of shared values with a very diverse population embracing it.”
Donald Trump and a number of other Republican presidential hopefuls have been urging immigrants to assimilate, with others suggesting that it is their duty to do so.