Of all the presidents of this century, the one that made the most sense to me about immigration was George W. Bush.
Not many listened to him at the time, but he articulated a sensible policy that embraced that long standing American ideal that we are a nation of immigrants. Together we are stronger than apart. Inclusion is something to be cheered, not feared.
He also recognized that many people streaming across the border simply wanted work, not necessarily citizenship. So, Bush advocated a work permit system that I believe had it been implemented would have solved much of the crisis that exists now on the border. It would have short-circuited the faux refugee loophole and brought a sense of order to the border
President Biden has tasked Vice President Kamala Harris to research the “root” causes of the border crisis. He could have simply talked to former President George W. Bush.
Last week, CBS Sunday Morning interviewed the former president and talked with him about his new book “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants.” Here’s an excerpt:
Bush: On getting involved in the immigration debate: “I don’t want to be prescriptive. I don’t want to, you know, tell Congress how to do this or that. I do want to say to Congress: ‘Please put aside all the harsh rhetoric about immigration. Please put aside tryin’ to score political points on either side.’ I hope I can help set a tone that is more respectful about the immigrant, which may lead to reform of the system.”
Norah O’Donnell: “You gave an Oval Office address on immigration … It’s been 15 years. … Still nothing’s been done. … Is it one of the biggest disappointments of your presidency?”
Bush: “Yes. It really is. … The problem with the immigration debate is that … one can create a lot of fear. ‘They’re comin’ after you.’ … [A] nation that is willing to accept the refugee or the harmed or the frightened, to me is a great nation. And we are a great nation.”
Bush supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who pass a background check and pay taxes.
Bush said he hopes his portraits will create “a better understanding about the role of immigrants in our society. Mine is just a small voice in what I hope is a chorus of people saying: ‘Let’s see if we can’t solve the problem.'”
It was good to see Bush again. It was a reminder for me that as sticky as the debate about immigration has become, there’s still a solution out there. But everyone — left and right — must stop preening and growling and channel a little George W. Bush dignity and wisdom.
ONE MORE THING
— A photon checks into a hotel. The front desk asks if it has any luggage. It replies “no, I’m traveling light”
— A Roman walks into a bar and asks for a martinus. “You mean a martini?” the bartender asks. The Roman replies, “If I wanted a double, I would have asked for it!”
— Pavlov is sitting at a pub enjoying a pint. His phone rings and he jumps up shouting “Dammit, I forgot to feed the dog!”
— The programmer’s wife tells him, “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.” The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.
— This is NOT a proper mask.
Thank you for reading, ladies and germs. I’ll let myself out. Until next week, be well and treat others with kindness. It’s the only sane option.
(Sherman R. Frederick is the founder of Battle Born Media, a newspaper company dedicated to the preservation of community newspapers. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)