Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales gave an impassioned speech at the Hispanic Radio Conference in Dallas on Thursday -- a talk that literally brought tears to the eyes of many attendees. Gonzales talked about his childhood in Texas as the son of cotton pickers and his journey to the highest legal position in the nation as attorney general under President George W. Bush. A story of growing up in a two-bedroom house -- and serving the president in the White House.
Gonzales spoke broadly on immigration, a subject of extreme interest to the conference attendees, who include many of most influential owners, managers, and talent in one of the fastest-growing sectors of not only the radio business, but of America itself.
On immigration, Gonzales said, "I think many Americans believe that our system is inadequate and our immigration strategy is outdated. Every sovereign nation has the authority to determine who can be a citizen and who can lawfully be present within its borders. Today, many Americans believe our federal government has abandoned our responsibility."
Gonzales continued, "I approach the subject of immigration reform from the perspective of a grandson of immigrants, as a Hispanic, and the product of this very diverse state of Texas -- and finally, from the perspective of a former statewide officer of this state, and a onetime chief law enforcement officer of this country."
During the question-and-answer portion of his speech, Gonzales "confessed" to being a Republican, evoking laughter from the crowd at the Hispanic Radio Conference. He added that in many respects he does fundamentally disagree with the the "very conservative wing" of the Republican party on immigration. Gonzales said, "For the white population of the country, there is a fear." He believes that a comprehensive solution on immigration is the best way forward, to get everyone to the table. Gonzales noted, "Everyone is going to have to compromise -- to get some of the things they want, they're going to have to give up some things." Numerous attendees at the conference asked Gonzales when he would run for president, but he dismissed the possibility.
Gonzales put the blame for lack of a clear immigration policy squarely on both Congress and President Obama. He said, "My short answer to that is we have the wrong leadership in Congress. I don't believe that people in the Congress have any respect for the president. I find fault with the president. He had two years. He could have pushed something in those first two years -- I find fault with all of our federal leadership."
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