Former president George W. Bush, whose push for comprehensive immigration reform failed in 2007, urged lawmakers on Wednesday to keep a "benevolent spirit" as they debate new legislation to overhaul the nation's border control laws.

Speaking at a naturalization ceremony for 20 new U.S. citizens at the Bush Institute in Dallas, Bush said he would not get involved in the politics or policy of the current debate on Capitol Hill. Rather, he spoke of the contributions immigrants have made throughout U.S. history.