McALLEN, Texas — On his own visit to the Mexican border Monday, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush denounced Donald Trump’s immigration plan as unrealistic and expensive. And he did it mostly in Spanish.
The former Florida governor told reporters Trump should read his book, ‘‘Immigration Wars,’’ if he wants to learn how to deal with illegal immigration. Earlier, he met privately with local, state, and federal officials in this city along the Rio Grande across from Reynosa, Mexico.
Trump has proposed building a massive border fence and kicking out the estimated 11 million people who are in the United States illegally before allowing the ‘‘good ones’’ and ‘‘talented’’ ones back in.
That plan is ‘‘not based in reality,’’ Bush said, arguing it will require a ‘‘much better strategy than building a fence’’ to deal with the complexity of America’s broken system.
‘‘If he’s interested in a comprehensive approach, he might want to read my book,’’ Bush said.
Trump took his 2016 Republican campaign to the Mexican border in July to highlight what he considers a broken border-security system. Appearing on ‘‘Fox & Friends’’ earlier Monday, he said of Bush, ‘‘I think it’s great that he’s going to the border because I think he’ll now find out that it is not an act of love.’’
That was a jab at Bush’s comment before he joined the race that people come to the United States out of love for their families and the wish to give them a better life.
‘‘I was down on the border,’’ Trump said. ‘‘It’s rough, tough stuff. This is not love.’’
Bush told reporters at the Palenque Grill restaurant that Trump’s immigration plan would cost billions of dollars, violate civil liberties, and ‘‘create friction’’ with Mexico, America’s third-largest trading partner.
He said border security extends beyond the land border with Mexico, noting that at least 40 percent of the illegal immigrants came to the United States with valid visas. The federal government should vastly improve how it tracks the entry and exit of millions of foreign visitors, he said.
Bush also said most of those illegally crossing the US-Mexico border are Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Salvadorans.
Reporters peppered Bush with questions about his use of the term ‘‘anchor babies’’ to describe children born in the United States to parents who are in the country illegally. Some find the term offensive.
Bush said he was referring to alleged fraud by families seeking to have their children born in the states to guarantee citizenship. He said stricter enforcement of immigration laws would help resolve the problem and he repeated his opposition to any move to deny citizenship to those born in America.
He said it was ‘‘ludicrous’’ to think he was being derogatory toward immigrants given his own family’s Hispanic heritage.
‘‘I’m proud to be married to a Mexican-American woman, and I have children who are Hispanic,’’ he said in Spanish as the crowd applauded.
In a separate development, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is urging the nation’s pastors to mobilize their congregations in a push to defund Planned Parenthood.
In an e-mail sent to 100,000 evangelical pastors over the weekend, the Texas senator cites what he calls ‘‘Planned Parenthood’s barbaric practices of harvesting the body parts of innocent babies and selling them to the highest bidder.’’
Planned Parenthood says many women donate their aborted fetuses and the money it collects from researchers only covers costs.
In his e-mail and an online video, Cruz asks the pastors to join a Tuesday afternoon conference call about a defunding fight he plans to lead in the coming weeks.