21:16 GMT12 June 2021
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    Former US President George W. Bush turned the issue of immigration into a major part of his second-term agenda, dubbing the US “a nation of immigrants” that “must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways”.

    In an interview with CBS News, former US President George W. Bush described the failure to pass immigration reform in America as one of the “biggest disappointments” of his presidency. George W. Bush was the 43rd president of the US from 2001 to 2009.

    “I campaigned on immigration reform. I made it abundantly clear to voters this is something I intended to do”, he added.

    When asked whether he wants to be involved in the immigration discussion, Bush said that he was willing to do so “in a way” and that he doesn’t want “to be prescriptive”.

    Asylum-seeking migrants' families ride on an inflatable raft to cross the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico, in Roma, Texas, U.S. April 16, 2021. Picture taken April 16, 2021
    © REUTERS / Go Nakamura
    Asylum-seeking migrants' families ride on an inflatable raft to cross the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico, in Roma, Texas, U.S. April 16, 2021. Picture taken April 16, 2021
    “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 trying to score political points on either side’. I hope I can help set a tone that is more respectful about the immigrants, which may lead to reform of the system”, the ex-POTUS pointed out.

    He added that he is lobbying the Republican Party to support President Joe Biden’s possible immigration reform, noting, “whether my own party listens to me or not’s another question”.

    The interview followed George W. Bush’s op-ed for The Washington Post, in which he focused on a series of potential reforms to the US immigration system.

    According to him, such reforms may help America “again see immigration for what it is: not a problem and source of discord, but a great and defining asset of the United States”.

    Bush's 2007 immigration reform proposal, which included a path to citizenship as well as tighter border controls, was defeated in the Senate, largely due to Republican opposition, which labelled it an amnesty bill.

    Biden Admits to US Being in Grip of Migration Crisis 

    Biden, meanwhile, referred this week to the situation with migrants on the US southern border as a "crisis" for the first time since assuming office in January.

    This followed US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warning last month that the country this year will have apprehended more migrants at its southern border than in the last 20 years due a surge in immigration.

    Unaccompanied child migrants are seen at the site of a former oil field workers camp which is being used as a temporary housing facility in Midland County, Texas, U.S. April 8, 2021
    © REUTERS / PAUL RATJE
    Unaccompanied child migrants are seen at the site of a former oil field workers camp which is being used as a temporary housing facility in Midland County, Texas, U.S. April 8, 2021

    According to data from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), agency personnel encountered a record 172,000 migrants at the Southwest border in March. Additionally, Border Patrol operatives detained more than 11,000 unaccompanied children between 28 February and 20 March, a massive increase from the 5,600 children the agency apprehended in January.

    "The situation at the southwest border is difficult. We are working around the clock to manage it and we will continue to do so”, Mayorkas added in a statement.

    Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blamed the continuing crisis of migrant children crossing the US-Mexican border on the “broken system” inherited from former US President Donald Trump.

    Republicans, in turn, pointed the finger at President Biden, citing his reversal of many of Trump’s immigration policies, including the freezing of the construction of a border wall and the scrapping of the “Remain in Mexico” requirement, which decreed that Central American asylum seekers must stay south of the US border while their claims are assessed by US courts.

    Related:

    Migrants Deported, Turned Away on US-Mexico Border Friday Afternoon
    Biden Administration to Explore Paths for Reunited Migrant Families to Stay in US
    Biden Says No Crisis at Southern Border, US ‘Will Be Able to Handle’ Influx of Migrants
    Tags:
    reform, migrants, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, George W. Bush, US
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