Paving way for new Bush candidate?
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