Video: George W. Bush urges “positive resolution” for immigration reform

posted at 11:21 am on July 10, 2013 by Allahpundit

A rare post-presidential toe-dip into politics by Dubya, who’s careful not to endorse any specific policies but whose track record on immigration makes his preferences clear enough. (Rubio’s Gang of Eight bill has lots of similarities, on the citizenship side at least, with the doomed Kennedy/McCain bill that Bush backed during his second term.) I think the setting’s more interesting than his perfectly innocuous remarks, actually. He spoke about this at a naturalization ceremony for new citizens, who diligently followed current U.S. law despite all the bureaucratic ball-and-chains cinched to them, to earn their right to vote. I wonder how they feel about a mass amnesty for people who weren’t as diligent.

I also wonder if Bush spoke up here because he wanted to or because GOP leaders finally saw an issue where he could be more helpful to them than harmful and nudged him to say something. One way to shake loose Republican fencesitters in the House is to give them as much cover as possible from prominent national GOPers. Whatever else is left of Bush’s legacy, he famously did considerably better with Latinos than Romney did. (Whether that was because of his support for immigration reform or because of his “compassionate conservative” pedigree and post-9/11 hawkishness is another question.) And of course, because the media’s happy to shill for anyone right-of-center who’s willing to help them with immigration, the Bushitler will now transform for a few days, at least, into the wise elder statesman who’s trying to steer his party away from ruin. That’s especially useful to them, in fact, because at the moment presidential leadership on this issue is necessarily lacking. If you’re a centrist House Republican, it’s got to count for a little something, no?

Nope, says Politico, in an enjoyably grumpy piece that pronounces reform all but dead in the House:

Republicans walked away from their 2012 debacle hell-bent on fixing their problems with Hispanics. Now, they appear hell-bent on making them worse.

In private conversations, top Republicans on Capitol Hill now predict comprehensive immigration reform will die a slow, months-long death in the House. Like with background checks for gun buyers, the conventional wisdom that the party would never kill immigration reform, and risk further alienating Hispanic voters, was always wrong — and ignored the reality that most House Republicans are white conservatives representing mostly white districts…

It’s possible Republicans will change their minds, listen to Rubio and Paul Ryan, and ultimately agree to something Democrats could live with. But, even if they do, the weeks ahead will show they did it kicking and screaming, undermining much of the credit they might have gotten from Hispanic voters.

This drives the Rubio and Roves of the world nuts

So even passing the Gang of Eight bill won’t help much if Republicans don’t do it with a smile? The bar for liberal concern-trolling on this issue rises every day.

Politico’s wrong, of course. Immigration reform isn’t really dead until the House passes its own bill and something new comes back from the conference committee with the Senate. That’s when we’ll know if Boehner — and Cantor — are telling the truth when they say nothing will reach the floor unless a majority of Republicans support it. And like I said Monday, the only reason to believe that they’re on the level is Boehner’s interest in retaining his Speakership. If he decides that pressure from a thousand big-name Republicans and the prospect of riding off into a lucrative lobbyist sunset are worth more to him at this point than presiding over a conservative caucus with which he’s not really in sync, he can bring the conference bill to the floor, pass it with 30 GOP votes, and then float away on his own Bushian cloud of Strange New Respect from the press. How lucky do you feel?

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Bmore on July 10, 2013 at 2:37 PM

rrpjr on July 10, 2013 at 12:49 PM

You give him too much credit where none is due. The deterioration of the American culture and populous has been occurring long before Bush made the seen. To blame any single individual for the ills of society is easy. The road is paved with the intentions of many and has taken years to create. A disinterested citizenry is to blame. Self governance is hard. We can however argue as to how we got here. This place. This time. This condition without any mention of Bush.

Bmore on July 10, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Sorry rrpjr, should read, scene. ; )

Bmore on July 10, 2013 at 2:56 PM

I also wonder if Bush spoke up here because he wanted to or because GOP leaders finally saw an issue where he could be more helpful to them than harmful and nudged him to say something.

Maybe he believes in the issue…if he does he is more in keeping with rank and file Republicans than they backstabbers on talk radio and the rightie blogs…

I thought this was an interesting poll:

Republican primary voters overwhelmingly want the current broken immigration system fixed, not ignored.

A large 79% majority say it is “very important” to fix the current immigration system. Another 17% say it is “somewhat important” to do so, bringing to a near unanimous 96% of Republicans who want the issue dealt with. Just 4% say fixing the immigration system is “not very important” or “not at all important.”

Republican primary voters prefer an imperfect immigration solution to no solution.

When given a choice between leaving the current immigration system the way it is, and “passing new laws that are not perfect, but do attempt to fix the serious flaws in the current system,” Republicans choose imperfect solutions over the status quo by a massive 78%-14% margin. This includes 75% of primary voters who consider themselves supporters of the Tea Party movement, and 78% of primary voters who are daily Fox News watchers.

Republican primary voters broadly support the substance of the comprehensive immigration reform bills presently under consideration.

By 70%-22%, Republicans support a described proposal that: 1) increases border security; 2) requires employers to verify the legal status of job seekers; and 3) establishes a pathway to U.S. citizenship for the eleven million illegal immigrants presently in the country, as long as they pass a criminal background check, pay a fine and back taxes, learn English, and wait at least thirteen years.

Most Republican primary voters support a pathway to citizenship under some conditions.

A solid 65% majority of Republicans support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants if it is coupled with substantially increased border security. An additional 8% support a pathway to citizenship even without increased border security, bringing to 73% the total of GOP primary voters who are open to the concept. A 21% minority of primary voters oppose citizenship under all circumstances.

Terrye on July 10, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Buck Fush

bbinfl on July 10, 2013 at 4:25 PM

And that’s something Tancredo never talks about…The Rio Grande Water Treaty between Colorado,New Mexico and Texas and The Congressional Heritage River/Waterway Protection Act.

workingclass artist on July 10, 2013 at 1:36 PM

How the heck did Colorado get involved in that? They are somewhat north of the border. As for the Rio Grande, I’ll get back to you on that after I think on it a while. Mexico does owe us a fair amount, we forgave them a monstrous debt ( and I vaguely recall that happening more than once )

dogsoldier on July 10, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Here ya go…it’s wiki but it describes the Tri-State Pact.

Mexico has been D*ckin with the compact for decades…politically it’s a mess because DC doesn’t give a rats a$$ about it.

Environmentalists are now involved…Some of these groups focus Water Conservation.

Here’s a site with some info.

“The United States and Mexico share the water of the river under a series of agreements administered by the International Boundary and Water Commission,US-Mexico. The most notable of these treaties were signed in 1906 and 1944. The IBWC today also allocates river waters between the two nations, and provides for flood control and water sanitation.

Use of that water belonging to the United States is regulated by the Rio Grande Compact, an interstate pact between Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. The water of the Rio Grande is over-appropriated: that is, there are more users for the water than there is water in the river. Because of both drought and overuse, the section from El Paso downstream through Ojinaga was recently tagged “The Forgotten River” by those wishing to bring attention to the river’s deteriorated condition.”

workingclass artist on July 10, 2013 at 4:26 PM

dogsoldier on July 10, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Here’s a regional news border site link…This water problem is not just with the Rio Grande but also the Colorado River. Both are protected under interstate water compacts,international treaties with Mexico and Preserved as National Heritage Waterways (So is the Mississippi and the Hudson for example)

Washington DC central planners don’t want to hassel with these border issues…and these issues affect a lot of states in the Southwest where Water and it’s usage is a very big deal.

“WESLACO, May 4 – A border congressman says it might be time to scrap or amend a 1944 water sharing treaty between the United States and Mexico.

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela says it is right to question the value of the treaty when Mexico consistently fails to honor its obligations under the pact. The Brownsville Democrat points out that the farming community in the Rio Grande Valley has been devastated by an ongoing drought and it does not help that Mexico has failed to deliver about 400,000 acre-feet of water to the region.

“The water Mexico is holding on to could be delivered today to alleviate the situation but they are not doing it. What is making it even harder is the people that should be protecting us are not,” Vela said, referring to the State Department and the U.S. section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC).

“If things continue the way they are, this country needs to take a real serious look at that (1944) treaty. It has been place for a long, long time. We heard today from Joe they (Mexico) have never complied with it. As some point, when you are doing all the compliance and they are not, why have the treaty?”

The “Joe” Vela referred to is Joe Barrera, executive director of the Lower Rio Grande Regional Water Authority.

Vela made his comments at a news conference held at the Rio Grande Valley Regional Transit Center in Weslaco. He had called the news conference to announce new legislation that would require the State Department to provide Congress with an annual report on whether Mexico is complying with the 1944 treaty.

The full name of the 1944 pact is the “Treaty for the Utilization of Waters of the Colorado and Tijuana Rivers and of the Rio Grande.” Under the pact, the U.S. has to provide 1.5 million acre feet of water a year to Mexico from the Colorado River in Arizona, while Mexico has to provide an average of 350,000 acre feet of water a year from the Conchos River basin in Chihuahua to South Texas. The transfers are measured in five year cycles.

“Mexico has never honored its treaty obligation to Texas,” Barrera told the Guardian. “Up until about the 1970s it was done naturally because there were no dams. Since then, Mexico has built a number of dams in Chihuahua and held back water. Since the 1970s, Mother Nature has bailed Mexico out. When Mother Nature has not bailed it out, Mexico has transferred water from lakes that were not part of the treaty. So, they have never honored their treaty obligations.”

Barrera said Chihuahua is not in a drought and that one of its dams on the Conchos River is currently at 114 percent capacity. He also warned that if the Valley does not have consistent water transfers from Mexico it will not be able to attract new industry. “Industry will not come to the Valley because of the fear that this will happen again. They will look twice here before they move manufacturing here.”

If Mexico does not honor its obligations under the 1944 treaty and if the State Department and the IBWC does not force Mexico to comply, Vela said it would only be right for Congress to look again at the reauthorization of Minute 319. This section of the pact governs water transfers from the U.S. to Mexico from the Colorado River.

“IBWC needs to understand we are not going to let that (reauthorization) period go by without this situation being rectified and they need to know that as they move towards reauthorization, we are looking.”

A reporter at the news conference asked Vela if the U.S. should consider pulling the plug on foreign aid to Mexico if it fails to comply with the 1944 treaty. “We have very significant economic ties with Mexico. Moving forward I am going to continue to do what I can to apply the pressure right but I can tell you that is not something I haven’t thought about,” Vela responded.

He said that in addition to the bill requiring the State Department to report on the treaty, he has another bill appertaining to Mexico’s water debt drafted that he could file at any time. He did not say what the bill would do.

A number of Valley irrigation district managers were at Vela’s news conference. One of them, Frank ‘Jo Jo’ White of Mercedes made a dire prediction about irrigated crop farming. He said farmers in his district have left half their farms fallow this year due to a lack of water. He said next year they could be completely wiped out, unless there is a big climatic change or compliance with the water treaty. “We won’t have a growing season. The negative economic impact is going to be tremendous,” White told Vela….”

More at the link

workingclass artist on July 10, 2013 at 4:39 PM

If Bush felt the need to keep his big mouth shut while the Obama thug administration dismantled the economic and constitutional freedom of this country, he can keep his big yap shut now.

He was part of the problem, not part of any solution.

Amjean on July 10, 2013 at 4:46 PM

I thought this was an interesting poll:

Terrye on July 10, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Not impressed with a poll from an open-borders GOP group starring Haley Barbour.

I like polls that offer ALL THREE options, with concrete legislation representing competing views.

fred5678 on July 10, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Bush 43 had eight years to secure the borders and pass immigration reform but he refused secure the borders. He failed only because he demanded amnesty first and America said NO, Secure the Borders First and they said so in millions of phone calls and messages, but Bush paid that no attention.

Bush 43 failed through his own hardheadedness, now he should shut up!

RJL on July 10, 2013 at 5:29 PM

workingclass artist on July 10, 2013 at 4:39 PM

We cut their water (the world calls us cruel) and they cut our oil as they are amajor supplier and Obamawind won’t cut it.

Maybe if we run them some more guns?

Don L on July 10, 2013 at 5:30 PM

We cut their water (the world calls us cruel) and they cut our oil as they are amajor supplier and Obamawind won’t cut it.

Maybe if we run them some more guns?

Don L on July 10, 2013 at 5:30 PM


I just get sick of there never being an honest and intelligent discussion on the subject…and the Red Border States get blamed for a lot of things that are beyond their control…

Every time we do deal with it in our way for each state…The Federales stop us and say no you can’t do that.

GOP is afraid to lose the Latino vote…whatever…

The way to WIN Latino votes is to unite Americans on Border Security…Period!

workingclass artist on July 10, 2013 at 5:56 PM

I hate California democrats…just hate em’

“On Monday, the Californian State Senate passed legislation AB817 that would allow non-citizens to help voters when they cast their ballots. Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda sponsored the bill, which would permit as many as five permanent residents who entered the U.S. legally to help voters at polling places.

Sen. Norma Torres, D-Pomona, who placed Bonta’s bill before the Senate, said that the non-citizens could help the 2.6 million Californians whose English skills are limited: “These individuals have the absolute right to make fully informed voting decisions on Election Day,” she said.

Almost 40 organizations have thrown their support behind AB817, including the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials. The measure was passed 22-10. All 22 ayes were Democrats; all 10 nays were Republicans. During the first Assembly vote in May, some Republicans said they were against the legislation because poll workers should be citizens. Now the bill goes back to the Assembly with the Senate’s changes.”

workingclass artist on July 10, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Go to bell, Hush!

Sherman1864 on July 10, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Gotta love a contradictory to the narrative poll…

Poll: Hispanics Want Border Security, Interior Enforcement Before Amnesty

A new poll shows that a majority of registered Hispanic voters believe any immigration legislation that becomes law should deal with border security and interior immigration law enforcement before legalization of America’s at least 11 million illegal aliens begins.

“Among all Hispanics, six in ten, 60%, support granting legal status to those already here only when the 90% goal is reached; 32% oppose,” GOP pollster John McLaughlin’s group said in a release. “Among Hispanic voters, 60% support, 34% oppose.”

The “90% goal” McLaughlin’s group is referencing is the target of ending 90 percent of current illegal immigration through border security and interior enforcement.

The McLaughlin poll also found that Hispanics oppose giving illegal aliens access to federal benefits, including Obamacare, “while they are going through the legalization process and before the 90% goal is reached” at a 56 to 40 percent margin. The registered Hispanic voters polled also considered “immigration reform” the lowest priority of four issues when asked whether immigration, the economy, education, or health care is most important to them.

The National Review’s Andrew Stiles noted too that the McLaughlin poll found, “Generally speaking, registered Hispanic voters were far more likely to support tougher security and enforcement measures than non-registered voters. For example, 64 percent of registered voters said they supported employment verification to determine if job applicants are lawful residents, compared with just 46 percent of non-registered voters.”

“Additionally, 55 percent of registered voters backed increased border-security measures (fencing, drones, police, etc.), compared with 45 percent of non-registered voters,” Stiles wrote…”

Governor Rick Perry had this one right…Two separate issues.

The GOP strategy should be to Unite Americans on Border Security.

workingclass artist on July 10, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Go away Bush, just go away.

VorDaj on July 10, 2013 at 6:41 PM

If you like bank bailouts, decades-long international schemes to transfer trillions to the connected under the name of “wars” that accomplish nothing, a trillion in veterans benefits, record budget deficits and borrowing, a massive domestic surveillance apparatus, amnesty to depress wages, pathetic attempts at political correctness, and lots of yammering about ‘murica, he was not that bad.

kunegetikos on July 10, 2013 at 7:03 PM

Guess who Obama is sneaking into the ‘Amnesty for Illegal Aliens’ bill – 5,000 more Afghans per year

Unless we want to accuse W of being ignorant, he must assume that he’s down with this huh?

Akzed on July 10, 2013 at 7:34 PM

I liked him better when he was not heard from on anything

No big surprise though. The last time the DC crowd tried to force feed us amnesty, it was Bush at the wheel. Went down in flames then, and will go down in flames again.

james23 on July 10, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Bush? Seems to me I remember that name. Isn’t he on the ‘Most Wanted List’ for 8 years’ dereliction of duty on border security?

MaiDee on July 10, 2013 at 9:06 PM

I’m really looking forward to this GOP betrayal of you all

The GOP will betray you

True_King on July 10, 2013 at 9:20 PM

True_King on July 10, 2013 at 9:20 PM

Why on earth would you wish ill my way? You don’t even know me. Your shtick is tedious. I don’t mind to read your same old tired line about the GOP betraying everyone. Fine, its your claim to fame here at HA. Good for you. To look forward to the harm done to us is unseemly and I reject your sorry ass wishes. Find something else to look forward to.

Bmore on July 10, 2013 at 10:24 PM

Not impressed with a poll from an open-borders GOP group starring Haley Barbour.

I like polls that offer ALL THREE options, with concrete legislation representing competing views.

fred5678 on July 10, 2013 at 4:53 PM

You mean the Haley Barbour who was a paid lobbyist for Mexico on immigration?

According to a Justice Department filing by Barbour’s former lobbying firm, The Embassy of Mexico decided to retain Barbour’s services on August 15, 2001, to work on, among other things, legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for foreigners living illegally in the United States—what opponents of immigration reform call “amnesty.”

Among the other supporters of extending 245(i) was President George W. Bush, who had called for an extension of the provision before meeting with then-Mexican President Vincent Fox in 2002. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted out the extension, but in the post-September 11 atmosphere, the extension failed to win approval in the Senate. The late Sen. Robert Bryd, D-WV, led the charge to sink the measure. “Reviving the 245(i) provision reopens another crack in the system through which a potential terrorist can crawl,” Bryd said, in a speech on the Senate floor on March 18, 2002. “It is lunacy—sheer lunacy—that the president would request, and the House would pass, such an amnesty at this time.”

The 245(i) provision expired in April of 2002. Since then, Barbour has maintained his support for providing a path to citizenship for those immigrants who are now living in the U.S. illegally.

George Bush, who called the Minutemen ‘Vigilantes’ for daring to monitor the illegal flow over the border

entagor on July 10, 2013 at 11:07 PM

The immigration laws are not broken are politicians are.
P.S.”Stay out da Bushes”.

celtic warrior on July 10, 2013 at 11:50 PM

So he remains silent through 4.5 years of Obama’s sh*t and this he decides to weigh in on?

Sorry, George, but there’s a reason that your last shot at this in 2007 failed: neither the GOP nor the Dems have the country’s best interests at heart in this deal.

It can wait until 2/3 of the government isn’t controlled by leftists.

PD Quig on July 11, 2013 at 12:28 AM

Every time I see Bush, my anger at him and his failed administration increases. I’m convinced he was one of the very worst presidents of the last century–and we’ve had a lot of bad ones.

Too often when I hear about some new Obama outrage, a little research reveals that, “Oh, Bush started it. But Obama just doubled down.” It’s not far off to say we’re now in the middle of Bush’s fourth term.

And, Jeb, if you’re considering running in 2016, fuhget about it. I’d rather vote third party.

Burke on July 11, 2013 at 2:33 AM

How is that when crooked and treasonous politicians don’t enforce existing immigration laws this mahically makes the laws (or the more nebulous “system”) broken …and not the politicians broken?

Lies, liars, and b.s.

Bush, Obama, Rubio, Ryan, Schumer, Reid, McCain, et al.

Deceptive weasels.

profitsbeard on July 11, 2013 at 4:46 AM

this goes out to “do you miss him yet?” crowd. Lets remember this is the guy, he and K.Rove, who have driven away millions of voters from the GOP. These 2 bozo’s did more damage to the Republican party than Nixon. Can we remember Ramos & Compean? Gilmer Hernandez? If you call yourself a conservative and don’t know those names, shame on you. The Bush/Rove duo pandered and groveled in the dirt for the Hispanic vote, pushing other disgusted voting blocks away in the process. And whatever Mexico wanted, Mexico got. Even throwing our valiant Border Patrol agents in jail! All for Nafta.

Darvin Dowdy on July 11, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Lets remember this is the guy, he and K.Rove, who has driven away millions of voters from the GOP. These 2 bozos did more damage to the Republican party than Nixon.

Darvin Dowdy on July 11, 2013 at 8:00 AM

You omit, among other things, the domestic spying apparatus he bequeathed to hope’n’change.

kunegetikos on July 11, 2013 at 10:39 AM

I never call people names.

Bush looks like a shriveled monkey.

Sherman1864 on July 12, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Bush is almost as bad a campaigner as Obama is an executive.

His well-known views on Mexican immigration are not going to make a difference here.

virgo on July 14, 2013 at 1:59 PM