By Jim Kouri
Millions of conservatives are sure to feel betrayed by former U.S. president George W. Bush when they hear about what he said Tuesday regarding illegal aliens, according to a political strategist and attorney.
Speaking at a political and economic symposium in Dallas, Texas, Bush said, “America [is] a nation of immigrants, immigrants have helped build the country that we’ve become. Not only do immigrants help build the economy, they invigorate our souls.”
“As our nation debates the proper course of action related to immigration, I hope we do so with a benevolent spirit and keep in mind the contribution of immigrants,” Bush said at the symposium which was hosted by the George W. Bush Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas on immigration and economic growth.
“They come with new skills and new ideas,” Bush said. “They fill a critical gap in our labor market, they work hard for a chance for a better life.”
“But conservatives aren’t buying Bush’s message nor are they discriminating against legal immigrants who follow the laws and the rules of this country. This is another example of Bush using the verbal tactics of liberal Democrats when confronted by members of his own party,” said Mike Baker, a political consultant. “Bush, like the political left, uses the terms illegal aliens and legal immigrants interchangeably.”
President Bush made his renewed appeal for the Republican Party to embrace immigration reform as an issue at Tuesday’s symposium more than five years after his failed attempts to push for a broad reform bill that included ramped-up border security as well as pathway to citizenship for some illegal immigrants in the United States.
Much to the dismay of those conservatives who’ve defended the Bush White House against attacks from the left and the news media, neither the Democratic nor the Republican Parties have been unified on their positions regarding illegal aliens.
Some Republican leaders have spoken out about the need to reach out to Hispanics, the fastest-growing group in the United States that overwhelmingly supported President Barack Obama in the presidential election last month.
Latino-Americans voted for Obama over Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney 71 percent to 27 percent in the presidential race thanks to Obama’s executive order for a Dream Act-light.
In polls, many Hispanics said they found the way Romney addressed immigration as hostile and anti-Hispanic. However, conservatives and fair-minded Democrats believe the news media had much to do with Romney’s poor polling among Latinos.
“The news media template for covering immigration is that the GOP want’s illegal aliens kicked out of the country while the Democrats, led by Obama, wish to keep illegal aliens in the U.S. while allowing them to partake of the government trough such as food stamps, medicaid, employment training programs and other goodies,” said former immigration enforcement officer Stanley Wellesley.