Rachel Weiner
December 4, 2012

Former president George W. Bush is wading into the debate over immigration reform, using a speech in Dallas to praise immigrants and ask that the issue be approached with a “benevolent spirit.”

Bush, who tried and failed to pass comprehensive reform as president, opened a day-long conference on immigration and economic growth organized by the George W. Bush Institute, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Economists, CEOs and policy experts are speaking at the invitation-only event.

“Immigrants come with new skills and new ideas. They fill a critical gap in our labor market. They work hard for a chance for a better life,” Bush said. ”Not only do immigrants help build our economy, they invigorate our soul. America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time.”

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