Former President George W. Bush has called on Republicans to embrace immigrants "with a benevolent spirit and keep in mind the contributions" they've made to the country.
Bush's remarks came in Dallas Tuesday during a conference on immigration sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
"America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time," Bush said.
There is one thing Bush and President Obama share in common: both say the inability to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill was their biggest frustration in office. The two presidents actually agree on the course for immigration reform.
During his first term, Bush called for comprehensive reform plan that included a path to permanent residency for the country's 11 million illegal immigrants, but Congress wanted no part of it. Obama has encountered the same problem in his first term but believes he can get a comprehensive bill passed in 2013.
"Growing up here in Texas, like many in this room, I had the honor and privilege of meeting the newly arrived," Bush told the conference. "Those who I've met love their families. They see education as a bright future for their children. Some willingly defend the flag."