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  • Writer's pictureNorman Adams

George W. Bush Calls for Sensible Immigration Reform at Naturalization Ceremony in Dallas

Former President George W. Bush called for sensible immigration reform during a naturalization ceremony at The George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas this week. President Trump also called in to the event to welcome 47 of America’s newest citizens into our national family, saying, “We share one American heart and one American destiny. It is a destiny filled with love, opportunity, and hope…We applaud your devotion to America, and we embrace the wonderful future we will have together."

Bush praised our nation’s immigrant heritage and said that immigration has benefited our nation and its citizens throughout history. “The United States of America is in many ways the most successful of nations. Historically, where immigration is concerned, we are also the most welcoming of nations. And these two facts are related,” he said.

Bush also acknowledged the need to secure the border and the important duty our elected representatives have to regulate who comes into our country and when, affirming, “Borders are not arbitrary, and they need to be respected… Immigration statutes, likewise, reflect the will of the people and the Congress, and must be enforced. And when the laws are outdated and ineffective, they must be rewritten.” 

Bush is optimistic that our nation can pass immigration policies that are “just, fair, and in the interest of the whole nation,” and added that he hopes lawmakers will “dial down the rhetoric, put politics aside, and modernize our immigration laws soon.”

“America’s immigrant history made us who we are. Amid all the complications of policy, may we never forget that immigration is a blessing and a strength,” he said.

I agree with President Bush. Our federal government has the duty to protect the border and oversee who is coming into our country. As we gain operational control of the border, we must also have an immigration system that allows legal entry of workers to fill the growing number of job openings. 

The George W. Bush Presidential Center has a great list of policy recommendations to “modernize immigration for today’s realities,” which it has further explained and justified.

  • Congress should shift US immigration policy from family reunification to employment-based migration and maintain or expand future flows of legal immigration

  • Congress needs to expand the H-1B high-skilled visa program

  • Congress should eliminate per-country caps

  • Congress needs to overhaul the existing H-2A and H-2B temporary visa worker programs

  • Congress should create a pathway to earned citizenship for undocumented immigrants

  • Congress must enhance the enforcement of immigration laws

Now that is what I call sensible immigration policy. However, with so many employers looking for workers, it is obvious that America needs the undocumented immigrants who are already here and working. Therefore, I respectfully suggest we must have a method for the 11 million plus to earn legal status, including criminal background checks, and positive IDs. We should require them to work only for employers that deduct and match taxes. 

The George W. Bush Institute has also published a book called America’s Advantage: A Handbook on Immigration and Economic Growth, which is full of data and analyses that show the economic benefits that immigration has had and continues to have for our great nation.

I hope our lawmakers will heed the recommendation of our former Republican president and business leaders around the country.

Please continue to contact your lawmakers and tell them you support sensible immigration policy.

May God bless you, and may He continue to bless America.


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