George Bush, In Op-Ed And Book, Steps Into US Immigration Debate.

George Bush, In Op-Ed And Book, Steps Into US Immigration Debate

Bush's pro-immigrant message comes as Biden has struggled with an uncontrolled surge of migrants (File)

Former president George W Bush has stepped into the US debate on immigration, saying migrants are "a force for good" and arguing for a gradual process to allow undocumented immigrants to earn legal status.

Bush, a past governor of Texas -- a border state heavily impacted by migration -- made his points in an op-ed article in the Washington Post previewing his new book "Out of Many, One: Portraits of America's Immigrants."

The book, whose name comes from the nation's Latin motto " E Pluribus unum ," features portraits of immigrants done by Bush himself, who self-deprecatingly says he knows his paintings "may not set the art world stirring."

But he says that by sharing the portraits of immigrants, each with "a remarkable story," he hoped "to humanize the debate on immigration and reform."

His pro-immigrant message comes as President Joe Biden, who had promised to ease Donald Trump's severe immigration crackdown, has struggled with an uncontrolled surge of migrants coming through Mexico.

The immigrant portraits drawn by Bush range from those of the unknown -- like a young French man who became an American soldier and won the country's Medal of Honor -- to the much better-known stories of two migrants, Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger, who fled prewar Europe and rose to become US secretaries of state.

Bush asks in his op-ed how it is that "in a country more generous to new arrivals than any other, immigration policy is the source of so much rancor and ill will."

The short answer, he adds, brings "little credit to either party."

While offering no specific policy prescriptions, the former president advocates several "good-faith" steps: a path to citizenship for those brought to the US as children; greater securing of the southern border; a modernized asylum system; and increased legal immigration to allow "talented people (to) bring their ideas and aspirations here."

As for the millions of undocumented migrants living in the US, Bush says that a grant of amnesty would be "fundamentally unfair" to those trying to come legally, but he adds that "undocumented immigrants should be brought out of the shadows through a gradual process in which legal residency and citizenship must be earned."

Applicants should have to pay a fine and back taxes, document their work history, demonstrate English proficiency and knowledge of US history and civics, and provide a clean background check.

After all, he adds, their determination to come to the US "is an affirmation of our country and what we stand for."

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV News

NDTV.com provides latest news from India and the world. Get today’s news headlines from Business, Technology, Bollywood, Cricket, videos, photos, live news coverage and exclusive breaking news from India.

https://www.ndtv.com/

Related news
A personal perspective on Middle East conflict

A personal perspective on Middle East conflict

ABC News’ Linsey Davis speaks with Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar about how he’s experiencing this conflict and his life as an Arab Israeli.

By the Numbers: How vaccines are stemming pandemic tide.

By the Numbers: How vaccines are stemming pandemic tide.

States with higher vaccination rates are seeing the biggest drops in COVID-19 cases, according to an ABC News analysis.

Officer Michael Fanone: I see a whole team of doctors for injuries sustained at Capitol.

Officer Michael Fanone: I see a whole team of doctors for injuries sustained at Capitol.

DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone talks to CNN's Don Lemon about his experience during the insurrection at the Capitol, PTSD and his road to recovery. #CNN #News

Rove: I was 'shocked' Biden pivoted from question on pipeline ransom.

Rove: I was 'shocked' Biden pivoted from question on pipeline ransom.

FOX News contributors Karl Rove and Katie Pavlich discuss Biden's foreign policy plans on 'Fox News Primetime.' #FoxNews #FoxNewsPrimetime Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 2...

1 33

Ted Cruz reacts to new CDC mask guidance: 'It's about damn time'.

Ted Cruz reacts to new CDC mask guidance: 'It's about damn time'.

Senator Ted Cruz discusses the CDC's new guidance on masks and rips Biden for his handling of mounting crises. Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news...

Rush Limbaugh's iconic legacy will continue

Rush Limbaugh's iconic legacy will continue

Longtime Rush Limbaugh producer Bo Snerdley previews new podcast centered around iconic conservative host on 'Hannity.' #FoxNews #Hannity Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24...