George W. Bush Releasing Book of Paintings Featuring America's Immigrants
Former President George W. Bush has compiled another book of his paintings, this time featuring the faces and stories of America’s immigrants.
Out of Many, One, set to be released in March, will highlight “the inspiring journeys of America’s immigrants and the contributions they make to the life and prosperity of our nation,” according to a news release.
The portraits will also be shown in an exhibition at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, the release said.
This is the second book of portraits for Bush, 74, following 2017’s Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors, a collection of paintings honoring the military men and women who have served the country since the 9/11 terror attacks.
In his post-presidency, in the shadow of high disapproval ratings amid the Great Recession and Iraq War, Bush embraced his role as an amateur painter and has connected that with certain social issues, such as working with veterans and immigrants.
He has also distanced himself from his Republican successor.
“I don’t like the racism and the name-calling, and I don’t like the people feeling alienated,” Bush told PEOPLE in 2017, of President Donald Trump's administration. “I didn’t feel like speaking out before because I didn’t want to complicate the job. However, at the Bush Center, we are speaking up ... through actions defending the values important to Laura and me."
In the introduction to his new book, he writes: “While I recognize that immigration can be an emotional issue, I reject the premise that it is a partisan issue. It is perhaps the most American of issues, and it should be one that unites us. . . . My hope is that this book will help focus our collective attention on the positive impacts that immigrants are making on our country.”
In a Thursday Instagram post, he added that Out of Many, One will honor the "new Americans who have contributed to the cultural richness, economic vitality, entrepreneurial spirit, and renewed patriotism of our country."
While speaking at a naturalization ceremony in Dallas last year, Bush said immigrants are “a blessing and a strength,” according to The Washington Post.
"America's elected representatives have a duty to regulate who comes in and when," the 43rd president said then. "In meeting this responsibility, it helps to remember that America's immigrant history made us who we are. Amid all the complications of policy, may we never forget that immigration is a blessing and a strength."
He also said he regretted that his administration "came up short" in enacting immigration reform.
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"I hope those responsible in Washington can dial down the rhetoric, put politics aside and modernize our immigration laws soon," Bush added.
In 2018, he also criticized the current administration’s stance on immigration, such as Trump’s attempts to shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (better known as DACA), which stops thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from being deported.
“America’s their home,” he said of DACA recipients while speaking at a summit in Abu Dhabi, according to The Hill.