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George W. Bush walks back comments about GOP being ‘nativist’; calls for immigration reform

Former President George W. Bush walked back his recent comments characterizing the present Republican Party as “nativist,” suggesting that he “painted with too broad a bush.”

In an appearance on NBC’s “Today” earlier this week, Bush was asked to describe the Republican Party today.

“I would describe it as isolationist, protectionist, and to a certain extent nativist,” the former president said. “That’s not exactly my vision, but you know what, I’m just an old guy they put out to pasture.”

But in an interview with People, he clarified his remarks, saying, “Really what I should have said — there’s loud voices who are isolationists, protectionists and nativists, something, by the way, I talked about when I was president.”

“My concerns [are] about those -isms,” he continued, “but I painted with too broad a brush … because by saying what I said, it excluded a lot of Republicans who believe we can fix the problem.”

President Bush is on tour to promote his forthcoming book, “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants.” The book features a collection of his artwork — paintings of immigrants to America — and tells the stories of those immigrants in the hope that Americans will be inspired to be compassionate towards those seeking refute in this country.

He told People that immigration reform can begin with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy enacted by President Barack Obama via executive order that permits migrants brought to the U.S. illegally as minors to be granted a renewable two-year period of relief from deportation and be eligible for a work permit.

DACA recipients have been labeled “Dreamers” by the media, and President Joe Biden has pledged to make DACA amnesty permanent after former President Donald Trump tried unsuccessfully to end the program.

One of the subjects of Bush’s paintings is Carlos Mendez, a DACA recipient.

“I put a DACA student in there because I wanted to just remind Americans that these DACA kids came over when they were… this kid came over when he’s 4 years old,” Bush said. “He has no home to go back to. And he’s a contributing member of our society, he’s an engineer and he’s smart and he’s capable.”

On the subject of immigration reform, Bush acknowledged that he himself and even Presidents Bill Clinton and Obama, like President Trump, attempted to build a physical barrier on the southern border to stem the flow of illegal immigration.

“I built a lot of wall myself, as did Clinton, as did Obama, and the reason why is the American people expect our laws to be upheld,” he said. “But I also believe there’s a compassionate way of doing it.”

He added: “The truth of the matter is: A wall won’t work unless there’s comprehensive reform, like work visas, asylum system fixed, and Border Patrol agents focused on their job. And so there needs to be an all-the-above approach to securing the border and we’ll see.”

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George W. Bush: Today’s Republicans are ‘isolationist, protectionist, and … nativist’

Former President George W. Bush on Tuesday characterized the Republican Party of 2021 as a “nativist” party, saying that’s not his “vision” for what Republicans should stand for.

“I would describe it as isolationist, protectionist, and to a certain extent nativist,” Bush said during an interview with Hoda Kotb on NBC’s “Today” in response to a question about today’s GOP.

“That’s not exactly my vision, but you know what, I’m just an old guy they put out to pasture,” he added. “Just a simple painter.”

The former president is currently on tour promoting his new book, “Out of Many, One,” a collection of paintings by him that feature immigrants to the United States with text sharing their stories. In a Washington Post op-ed published Friday, Bush wrote that the purpose of his book is “to share some portraits of immigrants, each with a remarkable story I try to tell, and to humanize the debate on immigration and reform.”

“The system really needs to be reformed and fixed,” Bush told Kotb after explaining how migrants are coming to the U.S. border in search of a better life away from natural disasters, poverty, violence, and criminal tyranny in Central America.

“Two things I think will help alleviate that: One is an asylum process that is more robust — in other words, the border is being overwhelmed right now and there needs to be more judges and more courts so people can have a fair hearing,” he said. “Secondly, we need to change the work visas. There’s a lot of jobs that are empty and there’s a lot of jobs that need to be filled and yet there are people willing to work hard to do so.”

Bush lamented that both Republicans and Democrats think they can score political points against the other side on the immigration issue, which prevents actual reforms from becoming law.

“It’s an easy issue to frighten some of the electorate and I’m trying to have a different kind of voice,” Bush said.

Asked by Kotb if a “hypothetical” candidate who is “pro-immigration,” supports amnesty with citizenship for illegal aliens, supports DACA, “reasonable” gun control, and increased funding for public schools could win the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, Bush said, “Sure, yeah.”

“I think if the emphasis is integrity, and decency, and trying to work to get problems solved, I think that person has a shot,” he said.

“By the way, ‘pro-immigration’ isn’t the right way to put it,” Bush added. “I think border enforcement with a compassionate touch is how I would put it. ‘Pro-immigration’ basically means let’s just open up the borders, and nobody’s really for that. And you can’t have a country that has open borders.”

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George W. Bush pushes ‘gradual’ pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants

Former President George W. Bush is advocating for a “gradual” path to citizenship for immigrants living in the United States illegally.

What are the details?

Ahead of his forthcoming book — “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants” — Bush published an op-ed in the Washington Post that explained the principles of reform he believes are necessary to restore “people’s confidence in an immigration system that serves both our values and our interests.”

That reform process, Bush said, should include a solution “for the millions of undocumented men and women currently living in the United States.”

Outright amnesty “would be fundamentally unfair to those who came legally or are still waiting their turn to become citizens,” according to Bush. However, the former president said the U.S. should employ a “gradual process” that results in legal status and citizenship.

Bush explained:

[U]ndocumented immigrants should be brought out of the shadows through a gradual process in which legal residency and citizenship must be earned, as for anyone else applying for the privilege. Requirements should include proof of work history, payment of a fine and back taxes, English proficiency and knowledge of U.S. history and civics, and a clean background check We should never forget that the desire to live in the United States — a worldwide and as powerful an aspiration as ever — is an affirmation of our country and what we stand for. Over the years, our instincts have always tended toward fairness and generosity. The reward has been generations of grateful, hard-working, self-reliant, patriotic Americans who came here by choice.

Meanwhile, Bush said that immigration reform must address the so-called “dreamers,” or immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as minors.

“Americans who favor a path to citizenship for those brought here as children, known as ‘dreamers,’ are not advocating open borders,” Bush wrote. “They just recognize that young men and women who grew up in the United States, and who never knew any other place as home, are fundamentally American. And they ought not be punished for choices made by their parents.”

Regarding asylum-seekers, Bush said, “We also need a modernized asylum system that provides humanitarian support and appropriate legal channels for refugees to pursue their cases in a timely manner. The rules for asylum should be reformed by Congress to guard against unmerited entry and reserve that vital status for its intended recipients.”

Bush also reiterated the necessity of secure borders.

“We need a secure and efficient border, and we should apply all the necessary resources — manpower, physical barriers, advanced technology, streamlined and efficient ports of entry, and a robust legal immigration system — to assure it,” he wrote.

“I have long said that we can be both a lawful and a welcoming nation at the same time,” Bush added.

Anything else?

Bush told CBS News in an interview that will air on Sunday that not passing comprehensive immigration reform is one of his biggest presidential regrets.

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Amnesty Filemón vela Henry cuellar Illegal Immigration immigration immigration reform Intelwars Joe Biden Vincente gonzalez

Texas Democrats issue stern warning to their own party over embrace of far-left immigration policy

Three Texas Democrats warned their own political party this week that the continued embrace of progressive immigration policies will result in electoral distaster for the Democratic Party.

What is the background?

Coming into office, President Joe Biden had promised to reverse most of his predecessor’s immigration policies. Biden has already taken executive action to implement some immigration reform.

But on Thursday, Democrats in the House and Senate introduced legislation championed by Biden that would provide amnesty to approximately 11 million immigrants who are illegally living in the U.S.

As TheBlaze reported:

The bill would also increase the number of legal immigrants, provide foreign aid to South and Central American countries, make it easier for refugees to claim asylum, change all instances of the word “alien” in federal law to “noncitizen,” increase spending on border infrastructure to process migrants, assign Social Security numbers and provide health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act to illegal aliens granted “lawful prospective immigrant” status, and much more.

What are the Texas Democrats saying?

Democratic Reps. Henry Cuellar, Vincente Gonzalez, and Filemón Vela — all of whom represent congressional districts on the Texas-Mexico border — are warning the Biden administration’s aggressive immigration agenda is a “receipt for distaster” for Democrats.

In fact, Gonzalez told Politico that Democrats will lose their majorities in Congress if they continue to move forward with progressive immigration policies.

“The way we’re doing it right now is catastrophic and is a recipe for disaster in the middle of a pandemic,” Gonzalez said.

“Our party should be concerned. If we go off the rails, it’s going to be bad for us,” he added. “Biden is going to be dealing with a minority in Congress if he continues down some of these paths.”

Unfortunately, Biden’s immigration policies, which are drawing more migrants north, have already had undesirable impacts, according to Cuellar.

“I said, ‘Hey, we don’t want the wall, but when it comes to the other issues, we gotta be careful that we don’t give the impression that we have open borders because otherwise the numbers are going to start going up. And surely enough, we’re starting to see numbers go up,” Cuellar told Politico.

Still, all three Democratic politicians told Politico they share Biden’s vision of a “fair and humane” immigration system.

According to Politico, Democrats’ vulnerabilities have already been exposed, when then-President Donald Trump saw “an unexpected surge in support” in Democratic strongholds along the Texas-Mexico border in the 2020 election.

Republicans hope to further galvanize voters that Democrats have traditionally taken for granted to win future elections.

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Biden’s immigration reform plan reportedly provides pathway to citizenship: ‘Stunned by the boldness’

President-elect Joe Biden’s robust legislative plans during his first days as president will include what the Los Angeles Times called “a groundbreaking legislative package” addressing immigration reform.

The plan will reportedly include a controversial proposal that would provide immigrants who are illegally residing in the United States with a pathway to citizenship.

What are the details?

Not only does the Biden proposal provide a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the U.S., but, according to the Times, Biden will seek a shorter pathway to citizenship for so-called “Dreamers,” immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. as minors by their parents and have been protected by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

More from the LA Times:

Biden’s proposal lays out what would be the most sweeping and comprehensive immigration package since President Reagan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which granted legal status to 3 million people who were in the country without documentation.

Under Biden’s plan, immigrants would become eligible for legal permanent residence after five years and for U.S. citizenship after an additional three years — a faster path to citizenship than in previous immigration bills.

Immigrant advocates are reportedly “stunned by the boldness of Biden’s plan,” according to Politico.

Anything else?

Incoming-White House chief of staff Ron Klain revealed in a memo on Saturday the aggressive actions that Biden plans to take in the intiial days of his presidency.

According to the memo, Biden will sign executive orders that overturn President Donald Trump’s controversial so-called “travel ban,” return the U.S. to the Paris agreement on climate change, require face masks on federal property, direct the Department of Education to continue its coronavirus-related suspension of student loan payments, and extend the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.

Within the first 10 days of his presidency, Biden will also sign executive action items related to COVID testing, racial equity, and criminal justice reform, NPR noted.

“President-elect Biden is assuming the presidency in a moment of profound crisis for our nation. We face four overlapping and compounding crisis: the COVID-19 crisis, the resulting economic crisis, the climate crisis, and a racial equality crisis,” Klain said. “All of these crises demand urgent action. In his first ten days, President-elect Biden will take decisive action to address these four crises, prevent other urgent and irreversible harms, and restore America’s place in the world.”

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Left-wing groups pushing for jailbreak, immigration reform amid the coronavirus outbreak

Left-wing reform groups are pushing for the mass release of prisoners, a reduction in arrests, and limits on enforcement of immigration law as ways to combat the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, according to a Washington Free Beacon report.

The initiative comes in response to warnings from experts that the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, could “wreak havoc” on U.S. jails because the facilities, often deficient in basic elements of infection control such as clean sinks and an abundance of soap and paper towels, would be less equipped to handle an outbreak should the virus breach the prison walls.

Instead of calling for increased sanitization standards in prisons, however, several of the groups appear to be using the outbreak to push criminal justice reform measures.

Here’s more from the Free Beacon:

The Sentencing Project, a pro-reform advocacy organization, called on public officials on Wednesday to “also prioritize the health and well-being of incarcerated people” in their responses to the virus. Nazgol Ghandnoosh, a senior research analyst with the project, said specifically that state and local governments should “release individuals who do not pose a public safety risk,” including elderly prisoners, “rehabilitated individuals in prison,” and those in pretrial detention—this latter population accounting for almost 500,000 people on an average day.

The Prison Policy Initiative on Friday published recommendations for how to aid the “justice-involved population” during the outbreak. It also called for the release of “medically fragile and older adults,” citing higher rates of chronic illness among prisoners.

In addition to the release of certain individuals, the Prison Policy Initiative recommendations also include taking steps to reduce the intake of prisoners. The group suggested law enforcement and sentencing institutions should start reclassifying misdemeanor offenses, using citations for lesser crimes, and diverting criminals away from jails and toward mental health and substance abuse programs in their communities.

But criminal justice reform isn’t the only issue being pushed as the pandemic grows in America.

Major liberal think tank the Center for American Progress called on the Department of Homeland Security earlier this week to “suspend certain immigration enforcement practices during the coronavirus outbreak.”

Specifically, CAP suggested that the Trump administration “issue a formal statement assuring the public that health care facilities will be ‘immigration enforcement-free zones’ for the duration of the outbreak.” The group characterized its suggestion as an “important step” “to ensure that all people in the United States have the ability to seek necessary medical care — regardless of immigration status.”

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New section of the DOJ will focus on stripping citizenship from ‘terrorists, war criminals, sex offenders, and other fraudsters’ who got it illegally

The Trump administration announced this week the creation of a new section within the Department of Justice that will focus on investigating and stripping away the citizenship of foreign-born individuals who obtained it illegally, such as war criminals and terrorists.

A Wednesday DOJ news release explained that the section will be called the “Denaturalization Section” and will exist inside the department’s Office of Immigration Litigation. The release said that the move “underscores the Department’s commitment to bring justice to terrorists, war criminals, sex offenders, and other fraudsters who illegally obtained naturalization.”

During the naturalization process, prospective citizens fill out a form that asks a series of questions, including whether the applicant has ever been a part of a terrorist group or totalitarian group or has ever been involved in the commission of serious crimes such as genocide, torture, religious persecution, or working at a labor camp. The form also asks the applicant if he or she has ever been involved with “forcing, or trying to force, someone to have any kind of sexual contact or relations.”

Under federal law, naturalized citizens can have their status revoked if federal prosecutors are able to prove that it was “illegally procured” or “procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation.” Such cases have no statute of limitations, the department also pointed out.

“When a terrorist or sex offender becomes a U.S. citizen under false pretenses, it is an affront to our system — and it is especially offensive to those who fall victim to these criminals,” Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt said about the new office. “The Denaturalization Section will further the Department’s efforts to pursue those who unlawfully obtained citizenship status and ensure that they are held accountable for their fraudulent conduct.”

The release also gave examples of successful denaturalization cases, such as one involving an individual who had been convicted of terrorism in Egypt, another involving an individual convicted of executing unarmed civilians and prisoners of war “during the Balkans conflict,” and another case dealing with “an individual who sexually abused a minor victim for multiple years.”

The department also said that while it’s been successful in litigating denaturalization cases in the past, the creation of the new stand-alone section was prompted by a “growing number of referrals anticipated from law enforcement agencies.”

This isn’t the first action the administration has taken to combat citizenship fraud. In June 2018, then-Citizenship and Immigration Services Director L. Francis Cissna told the Associated Press that his agency would bring in a team of lawyers and enforcement officers who would be tasked with rooting out immigrants who had been naturalized under false pretenses and refer the cases to the DOJ.

“We finally have a process in place to get to the bottom of all these bad cases and start denaturalizing people who should not have been naturalized in the first place,” Cissna told the outlet at the time.

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NY Times admits: President Trump has been widely successful in delivering on immigration promises

President Donald Trump’s fight to reform immigration has been a successful endeavor, the New York Times admitted Monday.

The cornerstone of the Trump campaign was immigration reform. As a candidate, he promised to build a border wall, tighten controls on which immigrants would be granted legal permanent status, and to restrict the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. per year.

Despite his continued fight to build the border wall — using such tactics as syphoning funds away from the Defense Department — Trump has succeeded in delivering on his promises.

Legal immigration has plummeted more than 11%, and, according to the Times, “a steeper drop is looming.”

Between FY2016 and FY2018, the number of immigrants granted legal permanent status declined from 1,063,289 to 940,877, or 11.5%. Meanwhile, the National Foundation for American Policy projects that Trump’s immigration policies will result in a net 30% decline in legal immigration by 2021.

“He’s really ticking off all the boxes. It’s kind of amazing,” Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst with the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, told the Times. “In an administration that’s been perceived to be haphazard, on immigration they’ve been extremely consistent and barreling forward.”

In addition to decreases in legal immigration, the number of immigrant visas has dropped about 25% from FY2016 — from 617,752 to 462,422 — and Trump capped the refugee admittance at 18,000 this year, down from 110,000 in the last year of the Obama administration.

Two recent policy changes also reflect Trump’s continued goal of sweeping immigration reform.

On Friday, Trump’s so-called “travel ban” was extended to include Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan, Kyrgyzstan, and Myanmar.

In addition, the Trump administration also won a temporary victory Friday when the Supreme Court issued an emergency stay allowing the administration’s updated definition of “public charge” to temporarily take effect. Previously, U.S. immigration law prevented officials from granting legal permanent status to immigrants who would likely depend on government cash assistance. The Trump administration updated the definition of “public charge” last year to include immigrants who would depend on non-cash assistance, such as food stamps.

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