Former President’s remarks come amid border crisis
Former President George W. Bush said he is “deeply concerned” with the rhetoric surrounding immigrants, and said he believes there should be a pathway to citizenship for undocumented migrants.
During a virtual interview at the South by Southwest festival Thursday, Bush said:
I am “deeply concerned with the rhetoric around immigration.”
He added that ending away 11 million unauthorized immigrants in this country would be a “political pipe dream.”
“There needs to be an overhaul, which means that we need to get politics out of the system and get sober-minded people focusing on a) what’s best for our economy and b) what’s best for our country,” Bush said.
“Rather than ignore the situation, we’ve got to address it, and I do believe there should be a path to citizenship,” he said.
“[But] I think Congress is going to have to be mindful that those who are undocumented don’t get to jump ahead of the line of those who are documented and have played by the rules.”
The former President said immigration had become “overly politicized.”
Bush had supported the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 while in office, which would have provided a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and increased border enforcement.
The House is voting on two immigration bills Thursday, one to provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrant youth, also known as “Dreamers,” and a second to provide legal status to certain migrant agriculture workers.
The DREAM Act passed House 228-197, with nine GOP votes.
But some Republicans vehemently opposed to the bills.
Bush said he was “optimistic” the populist movement would soon die out.
“History and the United States has shown these populist movements begin to fritter over time, and so I’m optimistic about democracy,” Bush said.
Bush also praised Biden.
“He’s off to a good start, it looks like,” Bush said.
“Hopefully, this anger will work its way out of the system.”
Bush’s remarks come almost a week after Donald Trump warned that Biden’s border policies are “destroying our country” and predicted the current crisis would worsen.
“My policies were working better than they’ve ever seen on the southern border.”
“The wall was almost complete. We just had to fix little sections, complete little sections that had to be together.”
“But they’re destroying our country,” Trump continued.
“People are coming by the hundreds of thousands. Young children are coming in, and they leave their homes, and they come up because they think it’s going to be so wonderful, and frankly, our country can’t handle it.”