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MIAMI (AP) - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has opened the annual Hispanic Leadership Network conference with praise for the bipartisan Senate immigration bill.

Bush says he applauds the comprehensive reform bill formally unveiled Thursday in Washington. The legislation is designed to secure the border and would allow tens of thousands of high- and low-skilled workers into the country while requiring employers to verify their legal status. It would also create a path to citizenship for the 11 million people in the country illegally.

Some conservatives have already expressed their opposition.

Bush told conference attendees the bill tries to balance the immigrant experience and respect for the rule of law.

Bush has been mentioned as a possible 2016 presidential contender. He declined to answer a question about whether he might run.