Former President George W. Bush opened a conference today stating the benefits of immigration.
The conference, hosted by the George W. Bush Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, is part of an initiative by the institute to push a four percent growth in the U.S. GDP.
Bush said America should approach immigration “with a benevolent spirit and keep in mind the contribution of immigrants.” He said, “Immigrants have helped build the country that we’ve become and immigrants can help build a dynamic tomorrow…America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time.”
Bush was president from 2000-2008. He has previously listed his inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform during his presidency as one of his biggest regrets. He advocated for overhaul in 2006 and 2007, proposing stronger border security and a guest-worker program. His fellow Republicans accused him of pursuing amnesty.
This conference comes at a time when the Republican views on immigration seem to be shifting. Barack Obama received overwhelming support from Hispanics, and Republicans have begun to reevaluate their past stances. Even though it was scheduled long before the results of the Nov. 6 elections were known, the conference is in-tune with the recent Republican push for immigration reform.