Bush confronted by voter over immigration

Hampton, New Hampshire CNN  — 

Just minutes after Jeb Bush bashed Donald Trump in his stump speech on Thursday, Bush was questioned by a frustrated voter on what he would do about illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In the six-minute exchange that grew tense at times, the former Florida governor was asked why he didn’t support the idea of cutting off aid or other funds to Mexico until the country does more to stop illegal crossings into the United States.

“They don’t do anything about the border. We’re being defensive. Why don’t we be offensive for once?” Dennis Lamare asked, echoing sentiments that have been trumpeted by Trump.

Lamare described himself as “pissed off” about the flood of undocumented immigrants and argued that “they’re all criminals because they are breaking the law.”

“(Mexico) should enforce their Southern border – that I agree with,” Bush responded, pointing out that most undocumented immigrants who have streamed into the U.S. in recent years have come from Central America.

But Bush argued that a “wall won’t solve this problem.”

RELATED: Jeb Bush to unveil tax proposals next week

While he conceded it makes sense to have a wall in urban areas like in between Juarez and El Paso, Texas, or by San Diego, California, there are other places where it doesn’t make sense.

“The notion that another country is going to pay for a wall that we’re building is just ludicrous beyond belief,” he said, referring to Trump’s proposal.

Bush went on to lay out his immigration plan, saying he would use technologies at the border to help detect illegal crossings and pointed to his own experience as a “border governor” because of migrants who came from the Caribbean to Florida.

He reiterated that he supports earned legal status for those that are already in the country illegally if they meet certain criteria.

Lamare, however, argued that the government has already been granting amnesty to too many people.

“You tell me if this is amnesty,” Bush said, before launching into the requirements he would enforce for anyone wanting legal status.

“You come out from the shadows. You receive a provisional work permit. You pay taxes. You don’t receive federal government assistance. You learn English …You work,” he said. “You don’t commit crimes … You earn legal status, not citizenship. That, to me, is the most practical way of dealing with this problem.”

Bush also found himself on defense, standing by his position that most immigrants come to the country out of good intentions – a position that Trump attacked him on this week with an Instagram video.

“99% of people that come across the border … are coming to provide for their families. The ones that are criminals, we ought to be kick them out. There’s no disagreement about that,” Bush said. “To ascribe bad motives people who are trying to provide for their families, I’m not going to change my views on that.”

Earlier in the event, Bush described Trump as a doomsayer who espouses “pessimistic” views that are dividing the country by preying on peoples’ “angst and fears.”

“Donald Trump’s view is that the end is near,” Bush said. “His pessimistic view is let’s close the borders, let’s create tariffs, let’s do this, let’s do that–all based on negativity, and the net result is all of us will suffer if that philosophy gains favor.”

His comments come as Bush has stepped up his attacks against his Republican rival.

Bush spent considerable time explaining how the two candidates differ not only on immigration, but on taxes and health care.

“Whatever the issue is, there is one path that is aspirational and hopeful, and there is one path that is negative, and it is not the right path for this country,” he said. “So here I am.”

The former governor also ripped into President Barack Obama and Democrats for making immigration a wedge issue.

“You’re angry. I’m frustrated. A bunch of people are angry. The left loves it,” he told the voter. “They don’t care about fixing this problem. President Barack Obama could have fixed this his first year in office…he didn’t even lift a finger to do it ‘cause they want to win elections.”

CNN’s Colin McCullough contributed to this report.