Former President George W. Bush urged Americans to “welcome” immigrants and thank them for doing the “jobs that Americans won’t do.”
“Americans don’t want to pick cotton at 105 degrees, but there are people who want put food on their family’s tables and are willing to do that,” Bush said at a summit in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, according to The Associated Press. “We ought to say thank you and welcome them.”
Bush rejected President Trump’s approach to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.
“America’s their home,” Bush said of DACA recipients.
Bush said the U.S. immigration system is “broken” and needed to be fixed, acknowledging that he “tried, but unsuccessfully.”
He also praised the U.S.’s relationship with Mexico, according to Reuters.
“It is important for our economy and also important for our soul that the immigration system functions well,” he said. “I view it as a relationship vital for our economy and for our stability. We’ve got to enforce our borders and we’ve got to enforce our laws.”