At Iowa forum, Bush, Graham together stand apart in supporting legalized immigration status

Associated Press

The clear rift over immigration opened up publicly Saturday at an Iowa forum on agriculture, energy, trade and food policy.

Most of the nine possible Republican presidential candidates for 2016 called for enforcing existing laws. But outliers Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, and South Carolina's Sen. Lindsay Graham proposed offering the estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally a path to legal status.

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The policy difference will likely remain a key issue as the race for the 2016 Republican nomination unfolds. Immigrants are an important workforce in agriculture and food processing in the early caucus state and around the country.

Bush and Graham's positions are politically risky in Iowa, where conservatives are disproportionately opposed to a path for legal status for those living here illegally.