At a conference on the benefits of immigrants to the U.S. economy, former president George W. Bush gave his opinions in the opening remarks.
The conference was hosted by The George W. Bush Institute and The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and part of a Bush Institute initiative on finding ways to achieve a four percent gross domestic product growth.
A book the institute released over the summer notes immigrants help grow the economy by increasing the labor force and filling niche jobs.
As Bush left office, he warned the Republican Party not to become "anti-immigrant." Congress defeated his promised overhaul of immigration policy in his second term.
"America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society, at the same time. As our nation debates the proper course of action relating to immigration, I hope we do so with a benevolent spirit and keep in mind the contribution of immigrants," said Bush.
Ambassador Jim Glassman, Executive Director of the Bush Institute, delivered the keynote address at today's event. The address highlighted stories of successful immigrants who have made a substantial impact in the United States and on Dallas area businesses.