Obama evokes George W. Bush in push for immigration reform
July 13th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama evokes George W. Bush in push for immigration reform

(CNN) – The massive overhaul of the nation's immigration system that was approved by the Senate last month should be adopted by the House, President Barack Obama argued Saturday.

Speaking in his weekly address, Obama pointed to similar immigration changes that were pushed by his predecessor, Republican President George W. Bush, who gave a soft endorsement this week of new reform laws.

'We've been debating this issue for more than a decade – ever since President Bush first proposed the broad outlines of immigration reform – and I think he gave a very good speech this past week expressing his hope that a bipartisan, comprehensive bill can become law," Obama said in his address.

On Wednesday, during a swearing-in ceremony for new American citizens, Bush said, "The laws governing the immigration system aren't working. The system is broken."

"I don't intend to get involved in the politics or the specifics of policy, but I do hope there is a positive resolution to the debate," Bush continued. "I hope during the debate that we keep a benevolent spirit in mind. We understand the contributions immigrants make to our country."

Bush didn't specifically mention the immigration reform efforts underway on Capitol Hill.

While the Senate measure gained bipartisan approval, the law has stalled in the GOP-controlled House.

Obama again called on the House to approve the measure, saying some compromise must be possible if he and Bush are in agreement.

"If Democrats and Republicans – including President Bush and I – can agree on something, that's a pretty good place to start," he said. "Now the House needs to act so I can sign commonsense immigration reform into law."

Filed under: George W. Bush • Immigration • President Obama
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Rogerd

    I agree with President Bush that the "The laws governing the immigration system aren't working. The system is broken.". For the existing laws to work, they need to be enforced. When a sitting President enacts Executive Orders to give authority to Federal agencies to avoid enforcement of current laws our democracy and sovereignty is compromised. There doesn't seem to be a need for many new laws, just enforce the ones on the books today or amend them to strengthen them.

    Those who want new immigration laws and new pathways are only looking for new votes. If we want new immigration laws, then we should also include new Voter Verification Laws as well.

    July 13, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    Bush is done and gone. Do not bring that idiot any more,

    July 13, 2013 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  3. Ed1

    Don't pass a bad law like was done with Obama care take your time and get it right this time.

    Obama care needs to be thrown out and start over to get it right and you might want to read the bill before it's passed this time.

    July 13, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Obama's abuses of power, make it highly unlikely anything can pass, on immigration reform, until he actually has left office. No one trusts him.........he wants to become dictator in America.

    July 13, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  5. Data Driven

    Wrong appeal, Mr. President. Republicans wish Bush never existed (and, during campaign seasons, the wish becomes reality). Hard to shame people into agreeing with you when the example you're using has been blotted out of the collective memory.

    July 13, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  6. HenryMiller

    So long as Democrats continue to try to insist that illegal behaviour be rewarded with US citizenship—which, "coincidentally," adds a lot of votes for Democrats—immigration reform will stay dead. Permanent legal residency, okay. But not citizenship.

    July 13, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. Guess

    Aint gonna happen, period.

    July 13, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. mario

    Why is president Obama talking about compromise now when Heathl care reform was passed without compromise? The truth is that bills that he can push without comprimise he wil not comprimise on. This is not good way to lead the nation.

    July 13, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  9. David Farrar


    Birthright citizenship must end before any large-scale amnesty program is adopted. It's the only true way to stop further illegal immigration.

    Border "surge" security, and an effective E-verify system, are myths, just like it was in 1986. In 1986 there was plenty border security provided, as well as an E-verify system put into place, as part of the amnesty legislation. However, after amnesty was given, the funding was withdrawn. Does anybody expect Congress or Obama to do anything different this time around?

    If we can stop illegal immigration by terminating birthright citizenship; we must do it. Passing an amendment to stop birthright citizenship will separate the wheat from the chaff, from those who are supporting SB 7444 for political reasons and those who are serious about dealing with the 20 million illegal aliens and their family members already in this country.

    ex animo

    July 13, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Donna

    Why does anybody believe that Obama and the Democrats will enforce any new "tough" immigration laws when they refuse to many of the immigration laws we have on the books now? Sorry, without somebody in the White House that can be trusted to enforce all of the laws of this nation (no picking, no choosing, no waiving, no executive orders toignore laws), it doesn't matter what the laws say, new or old.

    July 13, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. Bill from GA

    A recent article in the Atlanta newspaper told how, after Georgia passed tough immigration laws, the illegal workers bypassed GA. Then, word got out that the law was not being enforced (GEORGIA law, for those who missed that) and all is getting back to normal.

    Until our governments go after those hiring the illegal workers, we will continue to get illegal workers. Legalize the current workers and a new bunch will come in to do the job cheaper than legal workers. And the produce growers, or carpet mill, chicken processors, whoever is hiring them will take advantage of the lax enforcement as long as they are allowed to.

    July 13, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. just sayin

    this is a two step process. first the democrats must agree to secure the borders, implement a working visa tracking system to eliminate visa overstays, implement everify and eliminate the anchor baby bs and start enfocring all of the current immigration laws on the books (no more catch and release, it must be catch and deport). they must prove to the american people they are serious and capable of stopping another 20 million illegals from getting here. allow local law enforcement to arrest illegals, end the liberal sanctuary cities which has drawn many illegals here.

    only this is done, can we even begin to discuss what to do with illegals here. trust must first be restored. liberals and democrats have destroyed the american people's trust in their government.

    July 13, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Bill from GA

    To Donna
    " Why does anybody believe that Obama and the Democrats will enforce any new "tough" immigration laws"

    Look up Georgia onion fields, 1998, & Chambliss. Great stuff about Republicans, including Saxby Chambliss, annoyed at the INS for trying to enforce the nation's immigration laws. The episode is considered one of the starting points in the current immigration enforcement efforts.

    How are we going t stop another invasion of our country if we keep rewarding those who ignore our laws? The world treats our country's laws like a joke

    Wages at the bottom of the market will stay down as long as we allow cheap labor to undermine our Capitalist economy. A job should pay what it takes to LEGALLY fill it.

    July 13, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. Bill from GA

    Ronald Reagan – In 1984
    "I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally,"

    I don't agree with Reagan, and I don't agree with President Obama, but if your solution is to blame the Democrats for all of our problems, you're wrong.

    Where Reagan got it right: He knew militarizing the borders was not a good idea. He wanted tough enforcement against hiring illegals. Those laws were watered down, or just not enforced.

    July 13, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. rs

    For anyone tracking the increasing radicalism of the GOP, here's your measure:
    Just 5 years ago, the top member of the GOP, President G.W. Bush favored immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Now the House GOP cannot even consider giving a bi-partisan Senate plan that contains that a simple up or down vote.
    The GOP- just doing 360s evermore to the right. Watch out boys, the edge is coming up fast!

    July 13, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. rs

    Why does anybody believe that Obama and the Democrats will enforce any new "tough" immigration laws when they refuse to many of the immigration laws we have on the books now?
    Under the Obama Administration:
    The most Border Patrol boots-on-the-ground- ever
    The most arrests-ever
    The most deportations-ever.

    Truth hurts, yes?

    July 13, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. Bryan

    It's fun to read through all the comments and see how close-minded some people are. America is a great nation, actually, it is thee greatest nation. But it's sad to see that you don't walk the walk. You talk the talk, though. "Land of the Free", "With Liberty and Justice For All", this nation was created on immigration. I read a quote that stated "America is an immigrant nation. Before we were us, we were them." Think about it; Its true.

    July 13, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Guy

    America is an immigrant country a land of opportunities we are here to share our blessings with others whatever they from they got to be treated with respect and modesty

    July 13, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. rs

    On Immigration is is easy to see what the GOP's position is: "we got ours, tough luck on you!"

    July 13, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  20. Susan

    This is funny, actually it's hilarious. If you want immigration reform that is fine, it's needed, but amnesty? Really? All that will do is hurt the taxpaying citizens of this country. And as for this country being built on immigration, that is true, but most came here legally. How is it fair to those that waited and went through the whole process legally? You have people sneaking across the borders of the most powerful country in the world and working here illegally, only to send that same money back to their families in Mexico. They do not all want to stay here, watch Dennis M Lynch's They Come To America, real stuff there. Interviews with illegals and they are honest about why they are here.

    July 13, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  21. J.V.Hodgson

    It is a shame but House Republicans are not going to pass a meaningful immigration law, and certainly not the senate bill. they have already said they are going to write their own and it is not yet even drafted, they have refused to go to reconciliation on the budget and hope that needed again crisis debate will over take immigration before you know it it will be 2014 and they will say they are too busy campaigning for the 2014 mid term win.
    If you think the first 4 years achieved little with constant filibusters 60 + vote s to get anything to the senate floor and then bounce back a rejecting house. the last 4 years will set the all time legislative failure record for congress!!

    July 14, 2013 12:52 am at 12:52 am |