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Bush Urges GOP ‘Benevolent Spirit’ With Immigration Reform

The man who first invoked “compassionate conservatism” en route to first winning the White House 12 years ago is imploring the Republican Part to do likewise when it comes to the issue of immigration.

Making just his second policy speech since leaving office four years ago, former President George W. Bush made an implicit rebuke of recently failed GOP nominee Mitt Romney in delivering a stirring call for a “benevolent spirit” during immigration reform.

The 43rd president was at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas on Tuesday as the Bush Center held conference on immigration and economic growth.

Bush, a former Texas governor who scored well with Latinos, made no secret of his view on the subject of immigration.

“Not only do immigrants help build our economy,” he said, “they invigorate our soul.”

Romney received just 27 percent of Hispanic vote in his failed bid to unseat President Barack Obama, eight years after Bush totaled 44 percent.

Romney’s name was never specifically mentioned as the conference was an extended argument for the economic benefits of immigration. Bush had backed a similar measure in his second term, only to see it cannibalized by talk-radio conservatives as “amnesty” by people Rush Limbaugh and those politicians who choose to pander to them, including Romney.

Economic growth, the angle taken in arguing for more immigration, was telling. This framing was designed to be accepted by the Republican base, making a pro-business case for immigration rather than extolling the cultural benefits of increased diversity.

The core message of the conference was that America needs more immigrants, not fewer, in the current economic climate. It was bipartisan in tone, framing the issue in economic terms while arguing that America should be competing for the best and the brightest, including offering green cards with graduate-school diplomas – one of the few immigration measures that Senate Republicans and Democrats agree on.

Whether or not there is a Republican audience for such sensible talk is another matter, however. Romney consistently pandered to the worst impulses in his party on this issue – first using it to get to the right of John McCain in 2007, and then Rick Perry in 2011. It was a cynical and short-sighted strategy, contributing to the former Massachusetts governor’s pathetic lack of demographic diversity in this year’s general election.

Bush was consistent in reaching out to the Hispanic community, both as a border-state governor and as president. Xenophobic voices were not tolerated in his administration.

Bush warned the Republican Party as he left office in January 2009 not to become “anti-immigrant.”

“America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time,” he said during his speech. “As our nation debates the proper course of action relating to immigration, I hope we do so with a benevolent spirit and keep in mind the spirit of immigrants.”

Comprehensive immigration reform will likely be on the docket next year, meaning the GOP has a choice to make as for which direction the party should go.

Bush said immigrants come with “new skills and new ideas” and “fill a critical gap in our labor market.”

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One thought on “Bush Urges GOP ‘Benevolent Spirit’ With Immigration Reform

  1. Dave Francis says:

    Former President George Bush doesn’t reside in the real world, or do most of the hierarchy of elected politicians who govern us. George Bush is stating that we should approach immigration “With a benevolent Spirit”. But he lives in his own Shangri La and is not menaced by illegal alien drunk drivers, criminals, drug peddlers and a reciprocating cost of supporting these people? A large majority of presidents, elected legislators, and judges are isolated from the illegal alien invasion as they live in gated communities and are never have to look for a job. Many of the illegal alien hordes don’t come here to begin a new business or new ideas… they come here with their hand open saying “Gimme” or demanding the same rights as citizens? Building contractors, who once earned a good living, must contend with companies who use cheap labor and outbid the honest businesses. This is especially so where immigration regulations are broken every day, because these building entities must compete against each other, using an illegal workforce and making huge profits for owner? It is the same with unions who are also benefiting from a wide array of unauthorized labor and being illegal ask no questions about the subscription dues.

    It’s not the new law associated with the “Dreamers Act” but the chain migration that will follow its progress. Chain Migration points to the young people originally illegally coming to America with their parents, and then sponsoring their relatives. The issue with that is that the sponsor must sign an affidavit that they will financially support the family members that come into the country. So if it’s anything like the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) finding passage, those who gained a path to citizenship in the millions and then sponsored Mom and Pop and others, dropped their promise and financial cost laid on the taxpayers once again in supporting their elderly family members. Do you realize if some states issue Dream kids driver’s licenses; they will be able to chauffer illegal family members around their community and even take them to deceitful places of work. The 1986 the law was sterilized from the beginning anyway and millions more free welfare treat hunters gained entrance and the whole thing was a Carnival of errors. The politicians involved in this charade never funded properly a secure fence, or interior enforcement as special interest groups had already declared the ultimatum, which was in fact do next to nothing? Underfunded, the back door remained open and the unconcerned employers got cheap labor and to hell with the working American stiff. Since then we have had a poorly guarded border and the brave undermanned U.S. border Patrol men and women, threatened by drug cartels had to deal with the mess. I knew from the very inception of immigration law, that there was no intention to hold back the hordes of illegal foreigners, when the crime of entry didn’t add up to a class one felony. NOT ONLY ARE BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES IN SOME WAY OR OTHER PANDERING TO THE ILLEGAL ALIENS, BUT NOW THEY WANT TO RE-ACCESS OUR CITIZENS PRIVILEGES, BY STATES LIKE ILLINOIS GIVING OUT DRIVERS LICENSES? What George Bush talks about is LEGAL immigrants, not illegal alien paupers that benefit from our welfare state?

    You will not get any true honest news support from the press or airwaves, as it full of propaganda about the true meaning illegal immigration. Americans have been buttered up for years by the lying establishment and have shown no real intentions of enacting mandatory E-Verify, known as the “Legal Workforce Bill” to at least stop the massive influx of illegal aliens looking for work. Another deciding factor that makes literal sense is passing The “Birthright Citizenship Bill”. A quick amendment that would stop pregnant women from conceiving a child to procure automatic citizenship, that once again is unfair to the U.S. taxpayer. Only the babies of a U.S. citizen would have the merit to gain citizenship and not the three or four babies, which alien mothers require us to support. These are bills that are sitting gathering dust and neither Political party has the gut to pass. Not that there is any chance of being read on the House floor or in Sen. Harry Reid’s Senate, as he doesn’t allow them to gain Cloture? If these mostly bunch of old decrepit lawmakers as Reid, cannot pass a reasonable budget in four years, what chance do two rational bills have of passing to discourage the influx of impoverished illegal migrants or immigrants, whether from across the borders or flying into this country masquerading as visitors?

    We, the American people who suffer this costly indignity, not the Politian’s, not the employers, but the taxpayer. It’s inevitable that honest people are going to get skewered by those in power at the time and nothing will ever change while the same incumbents and robots of big business, unions and radical ethnic groups hold the reins of government. Nearly all 50 states are financially suffering because most legislators have ignored the major problems, except for a few that have placed their feet firmly on the ground. As little as 5 states are openly against the Democratic progressives who strongly believe that a path to citizenship for all illegal aliens will materialize as votes in coming years in their form of Socialist behavior. That it’s been seen in Socialist run nations that the more government gives, the more is expected and eventually turns into riots and civil disobedience and obscene deficits. Today I learned that President Obama has borrowed money, then all the previous presidents combined?

    EVERY U.S. TAXPAYER SHOULD STAND UP FOR THE “RULE OF LAW” AND CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS OR YOUR STATE LEGISLATOR. STAND UP FOR YOUR VALUES OR WATCH YOUR COUNTRY DISINTEGRATE UNDER THE SOCIALIST IDEOLOGIES OF OBAMAS CZARS.

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