Bush pushes for progress on immigration
July 7th, 2013
12:51 PM ET
9 years ago

Bush pushes for progress on immigration

(CNN) - As House Republicans convene this week to discuss their next steps on immigration reform, former President George W. Bush underscored the importance of fixing a "broken system." While noting the political controversy surrounding the bill, he said immigration reform "has a chance to pass."

"It's a very difficult bill to pass because there are a lot of moving parts, and the legislative process can be ugly, but it looks like they are making some progress," Bush told ABC in an interview taped in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Bush has been in Zambia to help renovate a clinic that serves as a cervical cancer screening and treatment center.

Asked if it will hurt the GOP if Republicans fail to pass the bill, Bush said, "The reason to pass immigration reform is not to bolster a Republican Party, it's to fix a system that's broken."

"Good policy yields good politics as far as I'm concerned."

The former Republican president tried but failed to pass immigration reform during his second term in the White House, thanks in part to opposition from members of Congress from his own party.

Bush will deliver a speech on immigration at his presidential library in Dallas at an event titled "What Immigrants Contribute" on Wednesday, the same day House Republicans will meet to discuss their next steps on the issue.

Bush was also asked whether his views have evolved on same-sex marriage in light of recent Supreme Court decisions, but insisted he's "not going to wade back into those kinds of issues."

"I'm out of politics. The only way I can really make news is either criticize the president, which I don't want to do; criticize my own party; or wade in on a controversial issue," Bush said.

The former president met with President Barack Obama in Tanzania on Tuesday before the interview to talk about the Emergency Program for AIDS Relief, a program started by Bush during his first term. The two attended a wreath-laying ceremony commemorating the 1998 U.S. Embassy attack in Dar es Salaam, which killed 11 people, wounding hundreds. On the same day, a separate blast at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, killed more than 200 people and wounded close to 5,000.

Bush said when he spoke to Obama, he reminisced about similar, long trips during his own presidency.

"I remember how tired I used to get, and I said, 'You've got to be kind of worn out.' He said, well, he's had a great trip, looking forward to getting back home."

"And I asked him about his little girls - were they having a good time? He said, 'You bet,'" Bush said of Obama's daughters, Sasha and Malia, who accompanied first lady Michelle Obama and the president on the trip.

"I remember bringing our daughters on some of these trips, and how meaningful it was to be with them," Bush said, adding that there was no talk of policy.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser, Ashley Killough and Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2013 • George W. Bush • Immigration
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Michael Benjamin

    This is hilarious. Bush couldn't get this done when he was president. Now out of office does he really think anyone is listening?

    July 7, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. Donkey Party

    The GOP has already stated it believes it can win elections (besides the districts they gerrymandered) without the Hispanic vote, so they are willing to torpedo immigration reform to prove their point.

    July 7, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    In reference to Obama's recent working trips on which he brought his family, GW replied:

    "I remember bringing our daughters on some of these trips, and how meaningful it was to be with them," Bush said, adding that there was no talk of policy.

    And yet, Sir, your party is now being run by people who spend countless hours fanning the flames of hate towards President Obama and his family, with GOP political base and all its lackeys like Fox, whining on and on and on spreading lies about the cost of these trips and how the President bringing his family along is a waste of taxpayer money.


    July 7, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. plain&simple

    People love to bash Bush. They look to continue! He's wise to keep it lite. The man is much better suited as a private citizen. Good for you Mr. Bush!!!

    July 7, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. Italmn

    Nice to see both POTUS get along. I'm sure it is a tough job. Pres Bush should have KICKED Chenney & Rumsfield not only to the curb but out of the entire country and let them face the war crimes by themselves.Thoese 2 guys destroyed Bushes Presidency period.

    July 7, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. Ron L

    President Bush is correct in saying the system is long overdue to be corrected. The problem is the 25% of Republicans who just don't want ANYONE that came in illegally to EVER earn a path to citizenship. The Senate just ordered 8 military style helicopters to appease some these people but they will want even more!!!

    July 7, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. rs

    Without being too sarcastic, this explains how lost the GOP really is. When G.W. Bush understands why THIS nation, and HIS party needs Immigration Reform, and the GOP refuses to do so, clearly the party has no clue what to do.

    July 7, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    It's good what he and Laura are doing to help the needy in Africa. I will give him that.

    He needs to go after Perry when he returns to the US for eliminating the same kind of care for the needy in Texas. In fact, Perry needs to go. And NOT to be in politics anywhere else. Perry is a cold heartless uncaring person. But he sure loves killing people after they are born.

    July 7, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. No Reform Ever

    Nobody want these Illegals here. Deport them all.

    July 7, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. PJ

    So, GW has all of a sudden found his voice in Tanzania. Guess he is getting ready to campaign for his
    nephew George P. Bush, who will probably run for Texas Land Commissioner. He will win, and the
    Republican monopoly will keep rolling over Texans.
    I hope I'm wrong.

    July 7, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  11. Evergreen

    A Republican states he don't want to make the news by critizing the President. If only the rest of his party felt that way.

    July 7, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. rs

    No Reform Ever
    Nobody want these Illegals here. Deport them all.
    11 million airline tickets. Hmmmm, will you mind much when your taxes go up, a lot?

    July 7, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. Donkey Party

    No Reform Ever – Umm, you sure about that? With your poor grasp of the English language, you might be the first to go.

    July 7, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  14. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Now the guy who couldn't construct a proper sentence is giving advice... Just go back to riding your bicycle George; you caused enough damage!

    July 7, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  15. Ed1

    I agree with action but not a free pass send them back home and make them come in the front door.

    July 7, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  16. Gurgyl

    Not only illegals–a whole lof these India Gus on H1-B visas guys are breaking the laws, not going home making wages go done–in a long run USA will face real music of hardship. Better wake up.

    July 7, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. boungiorno

    how many faces does this man have to decieve the BROKENHEARTED

    July 7, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  18. Getoverit

    Nice job, CNN. 2 full articles about Bush from the same interview. The only purpose, of course, is to give the Liberal haters something to spew about. Go ahead, Leftys, spew away. I have a bucket under my monitor to catch your driveling posts... kind of like a garbage disposal.

    July 8, 2013 12:53 am at 12:53 am |

    Looks like the Guns Over People tea potty muzzle on W failed. Can't wait to see the GOBP stuff immigration reform,then Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats Mitt the twit style.

    July 8, 2013 06:16 am at 6:16 am |