Of all the modern presidents, the one that made the most sense to me about immigration is … wait for it … George W. Bush.
Now I know “W” wasn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea, but hear me out. President Bush articulated a sensible policy that embraced the long standing American ideal that we are a nation of immigrants. Together we are stronger than apart. Inclusion is something to be cheered, not feared.
He recognized this key: Most people streaming across the border simply want work, not necessarily citizenship. So, Bush advocated a work permit system that had it been implemented would have solved much of the crisis that exists now on the border. It would have short-circuited the faux refugee loophole and brought a sense of order to the border
President Biden has tasked Vice President Kamala Harris to research the “root” causes of the border crisis. He could have simply talked to former President George W. Bush.
Two weeks ago, CBS Sunday Morning interviewed the former president and talked with him about his new book “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants.” Here’s an excerpt:
Bush: On getting involved in the immigration debate: “I don’t want to be prescriptive. I don’t want to, you know, tell Congress how to do this or that. I do want to say to Congress: ‘Please put aside all the harsh rhetoric about immigration. Please put aside tryin’ to score political points on either side.’ I hope I can help set a tone that is more respectful about the immigrant, which may lead to reform of the system.”
Norah O’Donnell: “You gave an Oval Office address on immigration … It’s been 15 years. … Still nothing’s been done. … Is it one of the biggest disappointments of your presidency?”
Bush: “Yes. It really is. … The problem with the immigration debate is that … one can create a lot of fear. ‘They’re comin’ after you.’ … [A] nation that is willing to accept the refugee or the harmed or the frightened, to me is a great nation. And we are a great nation.”
Bush supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who pass a background check and pay taxes.
Bush said he hopes his portraits will create “a better understanding about the role of immigrants in our society. Mine is just a small voice in what I hope is a chorus of people saying: ‘Let’s see if we can’t solve the problem.'”
Bush reminds us that as sticky as the debate about immigration has become, there’s still a solution out there. But everyone — left and right — must stop preening and growling and channel a little dignity and wisdom.
THE CAVEAT GOVERNOR
The Mercury News took Gov. Newsom to the woodshed for his performance in getting California school kids back to in-person classrooms. Here’s what the newspaper said. I promise you, this reasonable criticism will reverberate with parents frustrated by the lost 2020-21 school year.
If only you had focused on the needs of Californians as much as the concerns of teacher unions … rather than use your bully pulpit to insist teachers return to the classroom, you keep trying to argue both sides, while claiming everything is going swimmingly.
“This is the week we’ve been waiting for where we’re seeing massive scaling of our children returning back into schools,” you declared last week. Actually, as of last week, California had the least amount of in-person learning in the nation.
Your reopening effort has been so flawed that many, including you it seems, are now more focused on what will happen in the fall. “We must prepare now for full in-person instruction come this next school year,” you said. You later added, “I expect all our kids to be back, that’s what I expect, with caveats, always with caveats.”
Always with caveats?
Governor, come fall, voters aren’t going to want to listen to caveats.
ONE MORE THING
— Where did the general keep his armies? In his sleevies.
— What’s orange and sounds like a parrot? A carrot.
— Some people solve world problems and here I am all excited because I found a missing sock inside a pair of underwear.
— And to conclude, here’s some fine advice.
Thank you for reading, gentlepeople. I’ll let myself out. Until next week, be well and treat others with kindness. It’s the only sane way to be.
(Sherman R. Frederick is the founder of Battle Born Media, a newspaper company dedicated to the preservation of community newspapers. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)