Paving way for new Bush can­di­date?

Her­man

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - B

orate our souls.”

Bush ended with a nod to the con­tro­versy the topic al­ways draws.

“Amer­ica can be a law­ful so­ci­ety and a wel­com­ing so­ci­ety at the same time,” he said. “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 con­tri­bu­tion of im­mi­grants.”

The con­fer­ence was in the works prior to Mitt Rom­ney’s loss, a de­feat at­trib­uted in part to the Repub­li­can’s fail­ure to at­tract His­pan­ics. Dur­ing pri­mary sea­son, Rom­ney cur­ried fa­vor with some Repub­li­cans by blast­ing then-foe Gov. Rick Perry’s sup­port for in-state tuition for chil­dren of il­le­gal im­mi­grants. Rom­ney also raised eye­brows with his now-fa­mous call for “self­de­por­ta­tion” by il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

As pres­i­dent, Bush’s im­mi­gra­tion re­form plan in­cluded beefed-up bor­der en­force­ment, but it up­set some Repub­li­cans by also in­clud­ing a guest-worker pro­gram for il­le­gal im­mi­grants will­ing to pay fines. The plan died in the Se­nate in June 2007 when, due to lack of GOP sup­port, it fell 14 votes short.

The Tues­day con­fer­ence, at which Bush spoke for six min­utes and left be­fore the panel dis­cus­sions be­gan, was a rare, press-in­vited ap­pear­ance for him. Since leav­ing of­fice, Bush has kept his word to keep a low pro­file. He plays golf, makes paid speeches and works to­ward April’s sched­uled open­ing of the Ge­orge W. Bush Cen­ter at South­ern Methodist Univer­sity.

Those who see pol­i­tics be­hind ev­ery­thing might note that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a po­ten­tial 2016 pres­i­den­tial con­tender, is a Ge­orge W. Bush In­sti­tute board mem­ber. And it couldn’t go un­no­ticed

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