“America’s elected representatives have a duty to regulate who comes in and when,” Bush told the group gathered to become new U.S. citizens. “In meeting this responsibility, it helps to remember that 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.”
Bush’s spoke Monday from the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, where 51 people from more than 20 countries were gathered to take the oath of allegiance to become citizens. The center said the ceremony was inline with its immigration program.
The former president’s brief remarks waded into the nation’s divisive debate on immigration reform but lacked any of the more biting rhetoric on immigration that has come from the Trump administration. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to free up billions in federal funding to address what he says is a security crisis at the nation’s southern border. Critics of Trump’s long-promised border wall, especially congressional Democrats, have questioned the reality of that crisis. Trump vetoed a resolution of disapproval blocking his declaration on Friday after it had passed both chambers of Congress.
Bush said “just” and “fair” immigration policies would need to start “with recognizing a plain responsibility at the border,” adding: “Borders are not arbitrary, and they need to be respected along with the fine men and women of the immigration services and the Border Patrol.”
Bush told the group that he regrets that his administration “came up short” in its efforts to enact lasting comprehensive immigration reform.
By Megan Trimble for U.S NEWS
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