Former President George W. Bush offered a rare public speech Tuesday
, and he used it to extol the virtues of immigrants.
Bush has cited his inability to implement immigration reform as one of the main regrets of his presidency. His speech Tuesday came at a conference focusing on immigration and economic growth, sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute and the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank.
“America is a nation of immigrants,” he said. “Immigrants helped build the country we became, and immigrants can help build a dynamic tomorrow. Not only do immigrants help build our economy, they invigorate our soul.”
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Americans should appreciate the benefits provided by immigrants, the former president said.
“I hope we keep in mind the contribution of immigrants to the building of our nation. Immigrants come with new skills and new ideas. They fill a key gap in our labor market, they work hard for the chance for a better life.”
Bush urged that policy discussions over immigration remain civil. “As our nation debates the proper course of action related to immigration, I hope we do so with a benevolent spirit and keep in mind the contributions of immigrants.”
The issue rings personal for the nation’s 43rd president. “Growing up here in Texas, like many in this room, I had the honor and privilege of meeting the newly arrived,” he said. “Those who I’ve met love their families. They see education as a bright future for their children. Some willingly defend the flag.”
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