Bush calls for reform, but says he won't enter political debate on immigration

Former President George W. Bush on Wednesday argued the nation’s immigration system was broken, but said he wouldn’t get involved in the political fight to change the law.

“I don't intend to get involved in the politics or the specifics of policy,” Bush said at an event on immigration at his presidential library in Dallas.

“But 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 contributions immigrants make to our country,” said Bush, who as president twice sought to convince Congress to enact immigration reform legislation.

House Republicans are set to meet Wednesday to discuss immigration reform in a closed-door conference meeting.

Legislation has been approved by the Senate, but many Republicans in the lower chamber oppose granting illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he will not bring any legislation to the House floor that is not supported by a majority of his conference.

Most of the former president’s comments on Wednesday underlined the nation’s history as a country that welcomed immigrants.

“We must always be proud to welcome people as fellow Americans,” Bush said. “Our new immigrants are just what they've always been: people willing to risk everything for the dream of freedom.

“America remains what she's always been, a great hope on the horizon, a blessed and promised land,” he said. “We honor the heritage of all who come here no matter where they come from because we trust in our country's genius for making us all Americans. One nation, under God.”