Powell, a moderate Republican, urged his party Sunday to support immigration generally because it is “what’s keeping this country’s lifeblood moving forward.”
In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he said a path to legal status should be offered to illegal immigrants because they “are doing things we need done in this country.”
He added: “They’re all over my house, doing things whenever I call for repairs, and I’m sure you’ve seen them at your house. We’ve got to find a way to bring these people out of the darkness and give them some kind of status.”
Powell did not say whether he’s hired illegal immigrants directly or they showed up with contractors.
In lamenting the party’s rightward drift Sunday, he said Republicans must not become anti-immigration and spoke in support of legislation that would give certain children of illegal immigrants a way to become citizens if they pursue a college education or military service.
Immigration, he said, offers the U.S. a chance to maintain a youthful population in contrast with the aging of Europe and Japan.
The former secretary of state said he still sees Mr. Obama as a transformational figure, if one who has lost some of his ability to connect with people.