Former president George W. Bush called for widespread amnesty for the millions of illegal immigrants brought into the country as children.
Children in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was created by former president Barack Obama, are “fundamentally American,” Bush argued.
“They ought not be punished for choices made by their parents,” he said.
Bush also said he would be open to granting amnesty to all illegal immigrants, not just those in the DACA program.
He acknowledged that granting amnesty to millions of illegals who unlawfully entered the country is “fundamentally unfair,” but said he still supports providing citizenship to them, especially to those who have “earned” their citizenship through having jobs, learning English and having an understanding of U.S. civics.
The former Republican president also urged Democrats and Republicans to come to an agreement on the border.
“I have long said that we can be both a lawful and a welcoming nation at the same time,” Bush wrote. “We need a secure and efficient border, and we should apply all the necessary resources—manpower, physical barriers, advanced technology, streamlined and efficient ports of entry, and a robust legal immigration system—to assure it.”
Bush supported amnesty while he was president, even attempting to pass an amnesty bill in 2007. That effort failed in the Senate. Bush said his failure to pass amnesty was one of the biggest disappointments of his presidency.
“I campaigned on immigration reform,” he told CBS last week. “I made it abundantly clear to voters this is something I intended to do.”
If the federal government did grant amnesty to illegal immigrants, the U.S. political landscape would almost certainly change. Bush’s home state, Texas, for example, would become even more blue, and Republicans would be at risk of losing it.