I wasn't a big fan of George W. Bush (to put it mildly), but on immigration reform, his heart was in the right place. Back in 2004, Bush began to push for a guest-worker program that would have given legitimacy to millions of undocumented immigrants, who otherwise would have been forced to remain huddled in the shadows. The program wouldn't have been as good as a path to citizenship, or an amnesty like the one Ronald Reagan enacted in 1986. But it would have been a good start.
Unfortunately, it never happened. Instead of being defeated by Democrats, Bush was thwarted by his own party. Grass-roots conservatives, led by former Representative Tom Tancredo and talk-radio hosts, took up arms against the program. Bush was defeated, and immigration reform was delayed.