George W.Bush pushes for immigration reform

Updated: 2013-07-11 16:02


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HOUSTON - Former US President George W. Bush on Wednesday threw his weight behind the pending reform of US immigration policy.

While addressing a citizenship ceremony at his presidential library in Dallas, Texas, the ex-president said he didn't want to get into a political debate or policy specifics, but nonetheless he cautiously stepped back onto the hot topic on the very day House Republicans are meeting to discuss a plan for moving on the issue.

"I do hope there is a positive resolution to the debate and I hope during the debate that we keep a benevolent spirit in mind, and we understand the positive contributions immigrants make to our country," Bush said.

"We must remember that the vast majority of immigrants are decent people who work hard to support their families and practice their faith and lead responsible lives," he added.

Bush described the current US immigration system as broken, and not working.

Analysts said Bush has always been active in pushing for immigration reform, especially during his eight years in the White House, while many of his Republican colleagues strongly oppose the bill.

Passed in the Senate on June 27, the bill includes plans to spend more than $40 billion to beef up the US-Mexico border with thousands of additional law enforcement personnel.

It also provides a 13-year path to citizenship for roughly 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, whereby they would pay fines and overdue taxes before becoming eligible for legal status.

Following more than two hours of talks on how to proceed the issue on Wednesday, House Republicans signaled some willingness to compromise with US President Barack Obama and the Democrats.

However, they rejected the Senate-passed bill and insisted they would draft their own version.