President Bush optimistic about immigration bill

April 25, 2013 - 6:29 AM
Bush Library

Former President George W. Bush participates in a signing ceremony for the joint use agreement between the National Archive and the George W. Bush Presidential Center Wednesday, April 24, 2013, in Dallas. Bush and his wife, Laura, attended Wednesday's ceremony in Dallas the day before the official dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. The George W. Bush Foundation raised the money to build the center. The foundation donated the library and museum portion of the center to the National Archives, which provides access to presidential records, documents, historical materials and artifacts over time. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President George W. Bush says he's encouraged by signs of progress in overhauling the U.S. immigration system.

But the former president also says he hopes the bill passes on its own, and not because of lawmakers' fears of alienating the Hispanic community.

Bush tells "CBS This Morning" he understands the politics of fellow Republicans softening their stand on immigration after last year's presidential election. But he also says, quote, "I hope that's not why it happens. I hope it happens because that's the right thing to do."

On another controversial issue, Bush demurred when asked if he supports gay marriage.

He tells CBS anchor Charlie Rose, "I'm not weighing in on these issues because I made a decision to get off the stage, so I'm off the stage."