Immigration is Donald Trump’s red meat. He throws it to his ravenous masses and they beg for more. Despite blunders that would kill any other campaign, Trump seems unstoppable at least as the current polls suggest. Each controversy just adds fuel to the fire of his supporters who consider criticism an expression of the politically correct thought police. So when he suggested that all illegal immigrants and their natural born citizen children should be rounded up and deported it sounds like America to his followers.
But one issue, that could involve at least tangentially his strongest rival Jeb Bush, is citizenship through marriage.
It is commonly known that many couples marry and pursue citizenship. From the ‘mail order bride’ to those who find true love and want nothing more than to live a peaceful life in the United States. In most cases it is assumed that citizenship is pursued for the sake of stability and that most immigrants love their life in their new country. No one doubts that for the most part this path to citizenship is a good thing and that these new citizens love their new country.
Not so for Columba Bush, wife of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who is running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. According to a report in The Atlantic; Columba Bush ‘….became an American citizen, in 1979, just so she could vote for her father-in-law for president. “It was a difficult decision to make,” she later told a local paper.’
On conservative message boards like Free Republic, this admittance of casual citizenship is drawing outrage. The heading of the topic page says it all: The Mystery of Columba Bush (didn’t want to become a U.S. citizen…).
While no one questions that the Bushes married for love, many immigrants be they documented or undocumented arrive here with noble intent. But to Donald Trump this is a fairy tale and they are a threat. While he is focusing on the undocumented, his nativist tone suggests suspicion of all immigrants especially those from south of the border. So since he has no filter and no issue is out of bounds it is just a matter of time before he will begin to denounce the ‘anchor marriages’ of those who became naturalized citizens through marriage to an American citizen. Just like the marriage of Columba Garnica Gallo and Jeb Bush in 1974. She could have applied for citizenship as early as 1977 but waited two more years with some reluctance only so she could vote for her father in law.
Donald Trump would not be pleased at her motivation and her apparent devotion to her birth country Mexico. How many ‘anchor marriages’ are for convenience? What happens to the foreign national’s citizenship if they divorce? It’s all grist for the mill in the Trump machine. Trump is not shy to hurl insults at his opponents including Bush so his wife’s indifferent loyalty to the country her husband hopes to lead is certainly fair game in the Trump rule book. It’s just a matter of time.