George W. Bush pushes softer tone on immigration

The former president calls on lawmakers to address the issue “with a benevolent spirit”

Topics: Immigration, Republicans, George W. Bush, Immigration Reform, Congress,

George W. Bush is leading a push by Republicans to take a softer stance on immigration, saying in a speech that  “As our nation debates the proper course of action relating to immigration, I hope we do so with a benevolent spirit and keep in mind the contributions of immigrants.”

Bush was speaking at an event hosted by the George W. Bush Presidential Center and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and praised the contributions of immigrants to the country. “Not only do immigrants help build our economy, they invigorate our soul,” he said.

The New York Times reports that Bush’s speech comes as conservative leaders met in Washington to discuss the best path forward on immigration reform:

In Washington, leaders of a coalition that unites conservative law enforcement officials and clergy with business leaders — they described themselves as “Bibles, badges and business” — held a strategy session Tuesday on how to push for a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws, which would include “a road to lawful status and citizenship” for 11 million illegal immigrants.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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