Former Florida governor Jeb Bush. (Getty Images)
Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has long been a proponent of overhauling the nation's immigration laws, often touting the impact of immigrants on the nation's economy.
His comment Friday, however, that immigrants are more "fertile" caused a stir on Twitter.
"Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans," Bush said at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Washington. "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."
The phrasing by the potential 2016 presidential contender sparked many tweets, such as this comment from CNN contributor Maria Cardona in the form of a hashtag: "Stuff that shouldn't come out of your mouth."
"So according to @JebBush, I am much more fertile than my US born white counterparts. Hmmm. #Stuffthatshouldntcomeoutofyourmouth."
Though Bush may have been a bit inelegant in the way he said it, his point is correct. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics show that foreign-born women have a higher birthrate than that of U.S.-born women, according to a report by MSNBC. (That would be 87.8 births per 1,000 foreign-born women aged 15-44 vs. 58.9 for U.S.-born women.)
Census data released Thursday show that the U.S. population grew last year because of growth among Hispanics, Asians and blacks. The Asian population grew by 2.9%, mostly as a result of immigration.
The Senate is debating a comprehensive immigration bill that includes a pathway to legal status for 11 million unauthorized immigrants.