President George W. Bush decided to spend this after-president life painting portraits. And he is surprisingly good. This forty-third president lives quietly on his Texas ranch, rarely speaking, even about his unlikely friendship with former First Lady Michelle Obama. Those who did not like him when he was in office look to 45 and realize how mild most of President Bush’s failings were in comparison with a few notable exceptions. But now he is talking.
Sunday, he appeared on CBS Sunday Morning with Norah O’Donnell. As the topic of immigration heated up, the Texas president urged Congress to “reform the system:”
‘I do want to say to Congress, please put aside all of the harsh rhetoric about immigration, please put aside trying to score political points on either side. I hope I can help set a tone that is more respectful about the immigrant, which may lead to reform of the system.’
President Bush took pen to paper or keyboard to computer and wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post on Friday. He called upon his fellow Republicans for bipartisan action on several immigration issues.
The spring months have traditionally seen a rise in the number of immigrants crossing the southern border. It is a more temperate time than summer’s desert heat or winter’s freezing temperatures. However, the numbers have been very large this year.
Mr. Bush has long been advocating for immigration policies. He tried to get an immigration bill through Congress that would give 12 million undocumented people a pathway to citizenship. The bill died in the Senate in 2007, according to CNN.
He wanted that pathway for immigrants with the caveat that they pass a background check and pay back taxes.
He told O’Donnell that one of his greatest disappointments was he did not pass a reform on immigration. He has started lobbying the GOP to create a “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants now:
‘I am right now. Whether my own party listens to me or not is another question.’
The retired president commented on Congress’ lack of action when it came to immigration. He said that which is rarely said:
‘[There are] a lot of executive orders, but all that means is that Congress isn’t doing its job.’
President Bush is releasing a book of his paintings of immigrants, naming it Out of Many, One. He has done a series of faces of the Afghanistan war dead. Sunday, he modestly said that he was just a “small voice” among those working toward reform:
‘It is part of, hopefully, creating a better understanding about the role of immigrants in our society. Mine is just a small voice in what I hope is a chorus of people saying, ‘let’s see if we can’t solve the problem.”‘
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