Former President George W. Bush Weighs in on Immigration Reform - "The System is Broken"

Bush Immigration SpeechFormer President George W. Bush made a rare public policy speech at his presidential library in Dallas this week. As a former president, he has tried very hard to stay out of specific policy issues. However, while speaking to a group of newly sworn-in American citizens at a naturalization ceremony held at the library, the former president declared, "The laws governing the immigration system aren't working. The system is broken."

In his role as an "elder statesman" Bush continued, "I don't intend to get involved in the politics or the specifics of policy, but I do hope there is a positive resolution to the debate. I hope during the debate that we keep a benevolent spirit in mind. We understand the contributions immigrants make to our country."

Many people will disagree and say "just enforce the laws". Or "tell them to go home and get in line." The problem is many of the laws are so broken, they are unenforceable. And for those seeking manual labor jobs, there just is not really any line to get in back home.

Fixing our broken immigration system is only part of the issue. If you make new immigration laws, but don't succeed in securing the border, you will be back in the same place we are now. Those who don't qualify under the new laws will continue to sneak across the border. But, if you secure the border but don't fix the immigration system at the same time, more lawlessness will be created by increasing the demand for human smugglers. The two issues are separate issue, but they must be fixed at the same time.

There are many flaws in the Senate bill passed last month. The "Gang of 8" bill makes it too easy for bureaucrats in Washington to delay border security and provide waivers and loopholes for special interest groups. It also has too many provisions to protect Obama's union buddies. Then there are also the issues of whether the provisions of ObamaCare will give legalized guest workers (former illegal aliens) an unfair advantage over citizen workers.

Thank God we have a Republican House that addresses these issues and fix them before this becomes law! Congressman Ted Poe, chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus and vice-chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee joined fellow Texas Republicans Lamar Smith and Bill Flores in calling for a House bill to strengthen the border security politics and procedures of our nation. Poe is working closely with Senator John Cornyn's office to include requirements similar to Cornyn's RESULTS amendment that was defeated in the Senate by Democrats.

The House will take a piecemeal approach to the problem rather than introducing one single massive reform package like was done in the Senate. There could be as many as seven or eight different bills addressing specific areas related to border security, reforming the broken immigration system and what to do with the people who are illegally in this country either through illegal entry or visa overstays.

As these bills move forward, you can expect a much more open debate process. You can also expect this will not be concluded before the August recess, and you will have the opportunity to tell your representatives what you think about their work in summer town-hall meetings.

This is the year to move this issue forward. By not fixing these broken problems, we have been granting virtual amnesty to who are here now and leaving ourselves open to anyone who seeks to come here illegally for whatever reason.

There are two very real issues in play at this point. Democrats (who control the Senate and the White House) will not pass a bill that does not include a pathway to citizenship. Republicans (who control the House) will not pass a bill that does not include tough, effective and measurable border security. Both sides need to realize their goals will not be met if the other side's is not also met. The legislative process will require compromise on both sides to relieve the pressure of the unstoppable force meeting with the immovable object.

We cannot allow Congress to not deal with this issue. National security demands that our border be secured. At the same time, however, we cannot ignore the millions of people in this country now who are not identified and those who remain undocumented. 

I urge you to ask your Congressman to address all three issues this session. Either through one bill or through multiple issues. The three issues are 1) Secure the border with manpower, technology and financial resources; 2) Fix the broken immigration system to allow the legal flow of immigrants necessary for our economic needs; and 3) Provide a way for those who are illegally present to become legal that does not provide amnesty and does not put them ahead of the line of those who have come here legally.

The third issue is very difficult but very necessary in order for the other two to move forward. We have very smart people in Washington D.C. who can develop solutions to problems.  But we, as citizens, can also be very smart in finding solutions to broken issues. I urge you to not follow the easy pathway of just saying no. Take the difficult steps to find real solutions that will work and put these issues behind us this year.

During the August Recess, I will be seeking out as many members of the Texas House delegation as will speak to me on these issues.  I look forward to bringing you their comments.

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