George W. Bush Blames Border Crisis on Congress Former President George W. Bush. (David J. Phillip-Pool/Getty)
By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 20 May 2021 12:19 PM
Former President George W. Bush blamed the immigration crisis on Congress, saying lawmakers have "failed to act."
"You’re not going to solve this if there is politics," Bush told Fox News. "If you think about where we are right now, you’ve got people on one side of the aisle blaming the former president, and people on the other side of the aisle blaming the current president.
"And, the truth of the matter is, the system is broken because Congress has failed to act."
Bush saved his harshest comment for the cartels and gangs that offer transportation to the border in exchange for payment.
"[The] people who are guilty, really guilty, are the people who exploit human misery, and charge money to desperate people, and bring them to the border with no plan to get them into the country," Bush said.
"I’m sure they’re telling them falsehoods – 'follow me, I’ll get you in' – and these poor people have no way of checking that out and are finding themselves stuck at the border."
Bush discussed the current immigration crisis and possible remedies to the system while promoting his new book, "Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced last week it encountered more than 178,000 migrants in April — a jump of over 900% compared to a year earlier.
The 178,622 migrants who tried to enter the U.S. in April marked a 3% increase over the 172,000 the previous month, which had been the highest number in 20 years.
"What you’re seeing is a border that reflects a broken system, and there needs to be changes," Bush said. "There need to be changes in work visas, so people don’t have to sneak in to do work that needs to be done in America; there need to be changes in the asylum system to be able to adjudicate cases quickly.
"And what people have got to understand is that a broken system makes it harder to enforce the border. A reformed system will make it easier to enforce the border, and so that is what has to happen."
Bush said Congress will need to address the problem with a "piecemeal approach."
"I don’t think Congress is going to be able to get it all done with one comprehensive bill,” he said. "I think there needs to be a piecemeal approach so that people can gain confidence in the ability to work with the other side."
Bush suggested priority be given to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which began under former President Barack Obama and was restored under the Biden administration.
"I think if you were to say to the American people, 'Do you think it is good policy to educate a child in the United States, whose parents brought that child here outside the law, find that child and send them back to a country where they have no home?' Most Americans would say, that doesn’t make any sense," Bush said.
"If they were to fix DACA, which is limited in number, then all of a sudden, people can say, wow, we can work together and get something done."
Bush also mentioned workers programs where "lower-skilled workers can come to the country legally to do jobs that need to be done."
"You come here to Texas, people are looking for workers," Bush said. "And I think that can be fixed. And the same for high-skilled workers."
“So, I think there are some areas where we should be able to come together."