President of the U.S., 1989-1993; Former Republican Rep. (TX)
1980: Illegal aliens attend public schools like citizens do
Future president George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan debated--a young Texan asks whether illegal aliens should be able to attend Texas public schools for free, as citizens do. Bush starts it off, calling for a more comprehensive solution to the problem
of illegal immigration, something that still eluded Congress 33 years later:
BUSH: I'd like to see something done about the illegal alien problem that would be so sensitive, and so understanding about labor needs, and human needs, that that problem
wouldn't come up. But today, if those people are here, I would reluctantly say they would get whatever it is, what society is giving their neighbors. But the problem has to be solved. We're creating a whole society of really honorable, decent, family-
loving people that are in violation of the law, and secondly we're exacerbating relations with Mexico.
REAGAN: The time has come that the US & our neighbor to the south should have a better understanding and a better relationship than we've ever had.
1989: Vetoed letting Tiananmen students overstay visas
Gingrich's first skirmish was over foreign policy--Bush's veto of a bill that would have allowed Chinese students to stay in the US after their visas expired. The brutal suppression of protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989 had been seen across
America. Chinese students' lives were put at risk as soon as they returned home. Supported by Gingrich, Republicans joined Democrats in attempting to override the veto, and Bush administration official
Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p.124
, Jun 1, 1995
Supports “English First” but not via federal law
On “English First,” I cannot change my position. I strongly favor every child learning to speak English, but I don’t think we need a federal law. I worry about prejudice against Hispanics, particularly, and I am afraid the “English
First” debate could stir up prejudice and curtail linguistic education programs that I think are absolutely essential to teach all Americans to speak English properly. I know public opinion is on the other side, but this is how I feel.
Source: Letter from George Bush in All The Best, p.369-370
, Nov 6, 1987
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