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Jeb Bush touts family-focused, 'fertile' immigrants as economic boon

Speaking to religious conservatives Friday, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said that welcoming immigrants to the United States will be an economic boon because they are hard-working, family-oriented and “more fertile.”

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference on June 14 in Washington.

"Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans,” Bush said in remarks to the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington D.C. “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."

Bush, who is mulling a 2016 bid, also argued that there are too few young people paying into a system to support a larger number of older Americans because native-born fertility rates are going down. 

While Bush’s arguably awkward phrasing earned Twitter jabs, data shows that immigrants do have a higher fertility RATE than women born in the United States.

Speaking to religious conservatives of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush explains why fixing a broken immigration system in this country will help benefit the nation's economic climate.

According to 2011 data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the birth rate for foreign-born women is substantially higher than that of U.S. born women, at 87.8 births per 1,000 women aged 15-44. (It was 58.9 for women born in the United States.)

In fact, the Pew Research Center calculated that, in 2010, about 23 percent of all births in the country were to mothers born abroad, even though only about 13 percent of the total population was foreign-born. 

But it’s also worth noting that the immigrant birth rate dropped sharply  -- down 13 percent -- between 2007 and 2010.

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