For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
May 3, 2006
Interview of the First Lady by FOX News
7:22 A.M. CDT
Q And today First Lady Laura Bush will announce the first grants for rebuilding school libraries in the Gulf region that were destroyed by hurricanes. The First Lady joins us now from New Orleans. It's great to have you back with us.
MRS. BUSH: Thanks so much, E.D.
Q So, tell us about this. Louisiana has such a rich history, and I know that many of these libraries contained old and rare collections of books, some of them the entire collection of Life Magazines going back decades. How are you helping out the libraries?
MRS. BUSH: That's right. Well, the Chalmette High School, where I'll be later this morning to announce all the different grants, did have a collection from the '30s of Life Magazine. They used these as primary sources when their high school students studied American history. They could read these magazines as the lead up to World War II and really see what America was like during that time. And that was one of the saddest things they lost, when they lost their whole library.
So today they will be receiving a grant from the Laura Bush Foundation to restock the library. And then the great news is Time Warner, someone from Time Warner will be there who has gone back and gotten all of those Life Magazines since the '30s to be able to present to Chalmette High School. So that's very exciting.
One other really great thing about this high school that I'm going to visit is how one school superintendent, Doris Volitier, just went to work right after the hurricane, right after the flood waters went down in St. Bernard Parrish, and rebuilt this high school. She opened it in November. She thought maybe 50 to 100 kids would come back, but instead many more children came, both high school and elementary school age, because she was only able to open the one school.
Now there are more than 600 kids back. They want to be back in their own schools. So this fall St. Bernard Parrish is going to -- Chalmette is going to open an elementary school. And that's good news. That shows that people are coming back. When kids are coming back to school, then you know families are moving back to the Gulf Coast.
Q So the Laura Bush Foundation will award grants to these schools, and there will be a second round of grants by the end of the summer.
MRS. BUSH: That's right. We're awarding ten grants today, three in Mississippi, seven in Louisiana, to schools that are ready to restock their school libraries. And then as other schools are rebuilt, as they're ready to restock, they need to go ahead and apply. And we should have another round of grants next fall, I hope.
Q I talk to you, and of course I know that you're the First Lady, but you're also a pretty regular person like the rest of us. (Laughter.) When you were watching television -- I know it's hard to do in your position, but when you were watching television on Monday, and you saw the protests and the rallies for the extended rights for illegal immigrants, what was your reaction?
MRS. BUSH: Well, I think we have to do something about immigration. We need to have a humane and sensitive immigration policy, and we need to work on that to make sure people don't die in the desert as they cross Texas or Arizona because they are coming in illegally. We need to figure out a way to have legal immigration, including a guest worker program like the President has suggested, that will give people a legal way to be in the United States so they can go back home to Mexico and they can come back in for jobs without worry of having to sneak in across the desert.
Our country is a country of immigrants. We nearly all are immigrants, and our families came at different times for different reasons, a lot of them political, from around the world. And I think we need to be a welcoming country. On the other hand, I think people who have stood in line to become legal citizens should not be preempted by other people. I think we should have an orderly and legal, obviously, citizenship process.
Q All right, well, we appreciate your time this morning. And wonderful that you're using your celebrity, your position to do such great things for these Gulf Coast schools. Thank you.
MRS. BUSH: Thanks a lot.
END 7:27 A.M. CDT