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Jeb Bush: Next President Will Pass Immigration Reform

Image: Jeb Bush Announces Candidacy For President
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 15: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush announces his plan to seek the Republican presidential nomination during an event at Miami-Dade College - Kendall Campus on June 15 , 2015 in Miami, Florida. Bush joins a list of Republican candidates to announce their plans on running against the Democrats for the White House. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Jeb Bush declared immigration reform would be solved by congressional action not presidential action by the next president as he joined the field of GOP candidates in the 2016 race for president Monday.

Bush's comments came in response to immigration activists who protested in bright yellow T-shirts with letters that when standing together said "LEGAL STATUS IS NOT ENOUGH" at Bush's announcement in Miami.

"Just so that our friends know, the next president of the United States will pass meaningful immigration reform so that will be solved, not by executive order," Bush said to cheers.

Related: Jeb Bush Makes 2016 Run Official

The Senate approved an immigration bill in 2013 but the GOP-led House refused to consider it and did not advance any of its own bills to floor vote, wanting to avoid going to a conference committee to negotiate with the Senate on immigration reform.

President Barack Obama deferred an aggressive push on immigration until his second term but in 2012 used executive authority to protect immigrants who have been in the country illegally since they were young children from deportation. The third anniversary of that program coincided with Monday's announcement by Bush.

Obama has tried to expand that protection from deportation to millions more immigrants here illegally but the programs, which also would provide work permits, are tied up in court.