On Thursday, former President George W. Bush said that the U.S. ought to “welcome” immigrants and thank them for doing the “jobs that Americans won’t do.”
While speaking at a summit in the United Arab Emirates, Bush said:
“Americans don’t want to pick cotton at 105 degrees, but there are people who want to put food on their family’s tables and are willing to do that. We ought to say thank you and welcome them.”
Bush had particular criticism for Donald Trump’s handling of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. He said of DACA recipients, “America is their home.”
In September 2017, Trump announced that he would end the DACA program in its current form and gave Congress a 6 month window in which to pass legislation to protect current recipients… or not. That deadline is rapidly approaching.
Bush also said on Thursday that the entire U.S. immigration system is “broken” and needs to be fixed. He acknowledged that he failed to fix it while in office. Additionally, the former president spoke fondly of the United States’ relationship with Mexico.
Per Reuters, Bush said:
“It is important for our economy and also important for our soul that the immigration system functions well,” he said. “I view it as a relationship vital for our economy and for our stability. We’ve got to enforce our borders and we’ve got to enforce our laws.”
Lawmakers are scrambling to find a deal that could possibly satisfy President Trump’s demands for funding for his notorious border wall and other increased security measures. Last month, Trump’s administration revealed framework that would hypothetically include a path to citizenship for almost 2 million undocumented immigrants, which is more than double the approximately 700,000 Dreamers in the country.
Democrats are uncomfortable with the extent to which the fate of Dreamers has been intermingled with legislation to move forward with the border wall.