At an invite-only event by the George W. Bush Institute, in Dallas, former US President George W. Bush asked Congress to be "benevolent" about immigration reform.
When United States President Barack Obama was inaugurated, George W. Bush was no longer the United States President. Since 2009, Bush has been under the radar and there wasn't much talk about him. Despite the lack of talk let alone media coverage, Bush hasn't faded into obscurity. For the most part, Bush has been pretty low key; but, he makes appearances at events every once in a while. His most recent appearance was at a private invitation-only event on immigration and economic growth. It was organized jointly by the George W. Bush Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. At the event, Bush opened up with introductory remarks.
Bush brought up the debate on immigration. Immigration has been a major issue in the 2012 US Presidential Elections. When speaking at the event in Dallas, Bush talked about immigration reform. In a Washington Post blog, Bush tried pushing for immigration reform; but, it got stymied by the Congressional GOP members. Also, Bush said that if he could start over again, he would attempt immigration reform instead of privatized social security.
In regards to immigration reform, Bush asked that this issue be handled in a “benevolent manner.” At the event, Bush was explaining that immigrants come with new skills and ideas. Bush said that the United States can be lawful and welcoming at the same time. However, he did not give any specifics; he just asked the elected politicians to have a benevolent spirit about it.
Bush said to remember how immigrants contributed to the foundation of the United States. However, there is the question: How strong will Bush's words resonate? According to the Florida-Times Union, in a recent article, Republicans are pretending that Bush never existed in the first place.
A video from Midweek Politics, uploaded onto YouTube, talked about a recent Wall Street Journal article that talked about historical GDP growth of recent two-term presidents. Those listed were Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. It is explained that Bush was left out of the chart.
Immigration reform is one of the things being tossed around in Congress. However, the big problem is: how will Congress ultimately approach the issue? President Obama and the other Democrats are putting their backing toward the DREAM Act while the GOP is putting its back behind the STEM and Achieve Acts.
Besides the fiscal cliff issue, which is currently dividing the Republican Party, aspects of immigration reform could prove to be more divisive. One aspect noted to be divisive is to grant amnesty to those that broke the proper rules.
Today, a coalition of leaders from business, religion, and law enforcement have come together asking Congress for immigration reform that gives a path to citizenship as reported by the Nattional Journal and Wall Street Journal. That includes a path for those that were in the country illegally. Mark Shurtleff, a Republican and the Attorney General of Utah, quoted a memorable line: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Shurtleff said that they were the principles of the Republican Party.
The National Journal article pointed out the GOP's stance on immigration during the 2012 Election cycle. As a result, it hurt the party's standing among Latino voters. In this respect, Shurtleff gave warning that having such strict stances will have effects on the party brand. For the most part, one would have to agree with Shurtleff when looking at the exit polls from the elections and the voting blocks.
Though 2012's election cycle has passed, people are preparing for 2014.
Newly-elected Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a Tea Party Republican, blamed the GOP for not reaching out to Latinos. However, he didn't just blame the GOP itself; Cruz also blamed the media. He explained that women and immigrants care about economics and job markets as any other American would too.
In Kansas City, Missouri, leaders of the pro-immigration coalition group called United We Dream, gathered together to support the Dream Act. The New York Times reports that the name “United We Dream,” is inspire from the Dream Act. This group is made up of youths that are illegally living in the United States. They have banded together to pressure both President Obama and Congress for legislation next year.
Back in April, GOP Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a Tea Party Republican, pushed forth in favor of the Dream Act.
In late November, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus shot down the GOP-supported STEM Jobs Act and Achieve Act. Under the former, the visa program would favor graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; at the same time, it would kill the visa program for immigrations from countries with low rates of immigration. Under the latter, illegal immigrants would get legal status who serve in the military and/or attend college.
In a document from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, nine points are listed as important to the group.
New York attorney Raul Reyes, as the Latin Times reports, criticized the GOP proposals. Under this respect, Reyes said that the GOP still doesn't get the picture. Reyes took a jab at GOP Senator John Kyl of Arizona. Kyl, along with GOP Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas, introduced the Achieve Act.
According to Reyes, Kyl gave the implication that illegal youths should marry a US citizenship to become legal. In this respect, Reyes points out that it becomes problematic under the current marriage laws. Reyes called Kyl's suggestion as being “impractical.”
A Washington Post blog asks which party is truly blocking immigration reform. It points out the STEM and Dream Acts. In this respect, it's the Democrats' Dream Act vs. the Republicans' STEM Act.
While the GOP is saying that its open to discuss immigration reform, there are members of the party that still take the hardline. One example would be GOP Representative Steve King of Iowa, back in November, when speaking to radio host Janet Mefferd. King said that the GOP is misguided on reaching out to Latinos.
King said that the Republicans will never get the Latino vote because the Democrats will capitalize and hand them “gifts.” Such words may inevitably make it things harder than they are in terms of Latino outreach. This remark mirrors the comments made by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney who was the GOP nominee against Democratic incumbent President Obama. In a mass phone call to donors, Romney said that Obama's “gifts” to key voting blocks such as minorities was one of the reasons he lost the election.
Republicans were quick to attack Romney on that.
However, the immigration reform issue might not really get on the table by the end of this year or by the start of the next year. According to a Reuters article, which was published on other outlets, immigration reform would likely take a backseat to the fiscal cliff issue which has turned into a standoff of standoffs. One of the factors in the fiscal cliff issue is the standoff between dissenting Republicans and anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist.
Back near the end of November, Norquist did give his thoughts on immigration reform. Norquist gave his support in favor of it. He explained that immigration helps give the country a competitive edge against the world in terms of the economy.