Bush sees lawmakers ‘making progress’ on immigration reform

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Former President George W. Bush pressed lawmakers to act on comprehensive immigration reform and expressed confidence they were “making some progress” on the contentious issue during an interview aired Sunday on ABC’s "This Week."

“I think it's very important to fix a broken system, to treat people with respect, and have confidence in our capacity to assimilate people,” Bush told ABC’s Jonathan Karl in an interview taped last week during his visit to Africa.  “It's a very difficult bill to pass because there's a lotta moving parts.  And the legislative process is-- can be ugly. But it looks like they're making some progress.”

The Senate last month passed a comprehensive immigration bill, but Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) says the House will adopt its own legislation. Immigration reform faces an uphill climb in the House, where many Republicans are opposed to efforts to grant illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship and say the bipartisan Senate proposals do little to tighten border security.

A bipartisan House group is working on its own proposal, but Boehner has warned he will not move legislation unless it has the support of a majority of the GOP conference.

During his presidency, Bush sought to pass immigration reform, but his proposal was defeated in Congress.

Bush is slated to push for immigration reform in remarks this Wenesday at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, accordin to reports.

Bush said that failure had left him “frustrated.”

“I thought the plan I'd laid out on both was reasonable.  But sometimes  it takes time for some of these complex issues to evolve.  And it looks like immigration's, you know, has a chance to pass.”

Many Republicans are pressing their party to join with Democrats to pass immigration reform, arguing that failing to do so could cost them Hispanic voters in national elections. Bush said that the political calculus did not enter into his decision to support reform.

“Well, the reason to pass immigration reform is not to bolster a Republican party, it's to fix a system that's broken,” said Bush. “Good policy yields good politics as far as I'm concerned.”