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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 12, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 28
'Dubya' does a good thing, gets slammed for it
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'Dubya' does a good thing, gets slammed for it

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

In his first speech on a major political topic since he left the White House in 2009, George W. Bush called on Republicans to come to a 'positive resolution' on immigration reform.

Speaking at a ceremony for 20 new U.S. citizens at the Bush Institute in Dallas, Bush said he would not get involved in the politics of the current debate on the 'Gang of Eight' immigration bill.

He did, however, emphasize the contribution immigrants make to the US economy and culture.

'I do hope there is a positive resolution to the debate and I hope during the debate that we keep a benevolent spirit in mind and we understand the contributions immigrants make to this country,' Bush said outside his presidential library.

'The vast majority are decent people who work hard, believe in their faith and lead responsible lives. Immigration is a sign of a confident and successful nation.'

The former president's comments come as lawmakers negotiate over a Senate plan to provide a path to citizenship for up to 11 million illegal immigrants.

House Republicans have said they will not take up the Senate bill, which passed two weeks ago, and are instead working on a series of smaller proposals that do not include citizenship for immigrants.

The day after Bush's speech, fellow Republicans in the House dismissed him as almost irrelevant.

Rep. Raúl R. Labrador (R-ID), who last month dropped out of bipartisan talks to develop a comprehensive House immigration bill, said Bush's views would have little impact.

'Anybody has to take an ex-president's word seriously, but he's just another voice on this issue. He's not going to be the definitive voice,' Labrador said in an interview.

He added that House lawmakers 'are all independent actors here. We're not little kids waiting for someone to tell us how to vote and act.'

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) was even more blunt.

'We care what people back home say, not what some former president says,' he snorted.

Republican Speaker John Boehner has indicated that most of his caucus favor a piecemeal approach to immigration reform rather than a comprehensive package, and that many of his Republican colleagues want to see legalization without a way for immigrants to get U.S. citizenship.

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