Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Reagan on immigration

Yesterday's Opinion Journal had an interesting piece on Ronald Reagan's views of immigration, and it flies in the face of those who claim Reagan would have sided with the Tom Tancredo crowd. Here's one quote from the Gipper, from about a year before the 1980 election:
Some months before I declared, I asked for a meeting and crossed the border to meet with the president of Mexico. I did not go with a plan. I went, as I said in my announcement address, to ask him his ideas -- how we could make the border something other than a locale for a nine-foot fence.
The piece also mentions the issue of migrant workers and Reagan's support for some sort of amnesty program, and ends with these provocative paragraphs:
Yes, times change, and it's impossible to know what precisely the Gipper would do at the current moment. But judging from these quotes and so many others across his long career, we feel confident in asserting that Mr. Bush and those who support more open immigration are far closer to Reagan's views than today's restrictionists are.

The current immigration political panic is not unlike many in America's past, including a couple while Reagan was in public life. He always avoided the temptation to join them, no doubt realizing that they were short-sighted politically, and, more important, inconsistent with his vision of America as the last best hope of mankind.


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