Reagan’s real record on immigration


Since my contrarian position on immigration has raised so many hackles I thought I’d add a little fuel to the fire. Below is an editorial that ran in the WSJ during the summer of 2006.

Reagan on Immigration

GOP nativists lose one for the Gipper.

Sunday, May 21, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT
One myth currently popular on the political right is that the immigration debate pits populist conservatives in the Ronald Reagan mold against Big Business “elites” who’ve hijacked the Republican Party. It’s closer to the truth to say that what’s really being hijacked here is the Gipper’s reputation.
One of the Reagan Presidency’s symbolic highlights was the July 3, 1986, celebration of a refurbished Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the gateway for immigrants a century ago. (Readers can find Reagan’s entire speech that evening here.) To Reagan, the conservative optimist, immigration was a vital part of his vision of this country as “a shining city upon a Hill,” in the John Winthrop phrase he quoted so often. It was proof that America remained a land of opportunity, a nation built on the idea of liberty rather than on the “blood and soil” conservatism of Old Europe.
This view was apparent in Reagan’s public statements well before he became President. In one of his radio addresses, in November 1977, he wondered about what he called “the illegal alien fuss. Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion, or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won’t do? One thing is certain in this hungry world: No regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters.” As a Californian, Reagan understood the role of immigrant labor in agriculture.

In 1980, according to the book “Reagan: His Life in Letters” (page 511), the then-Presidential candidate wrote to one supporter that “I believe we must resolve the problem at our southern border with full regard to the problems and needs of Mexico. I have suggested legalizing the entry of Mexican labor into this country on much the same basis you proposed, although I have not put it into the sense of restoring the bracero program.” The bracero program was a guest-worker program similar to the one now being proposed by President Bush. It was killed in the mid-1960s, largely due to opposition from unions.
During the same campaign, circa December 1979, the Gipper responded to criticism from conservative columnist Holmes Alexander with the following: “Please believe me when I tell you the idea of a North American accord has been mine for many, many years. I have seen presidents, both Democrat and Republican, approach our neighbors with pre-concocted plans in which their only input is to vote ‘yes.’
“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.” So much for those conservatives who think the Gipper would have endorsed a 2,000-mile Tom Tancredo-Pat Buchanan wall.
It’s true that in November 1986 Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which included more money for border police and employer sanctions. The Gipper was a practical politician who bowed that year to one of the periodic anti-immigration uprisings from the GOP’s nativist wing. But even as he signed that bill, he also insisted on a provision for legalizing immigrants already in the U.S.–that is, he supported “amnesty.”
In his signing statement, Reagan declared: “We have consistently supported a legalization program which is both generous to the alien and fair to the countless thousands of people throughout the world who seek legally to come to America. The legalization provisions in this act will go far to improve the lives of a class of individuals who now must hide in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society. Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight and, ultimately, if they choose, they may become Americans.”
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.

Here’s another piece that appeared in the WSJ. Take a look at the “flaming liberals” that signed it.

Enforcement Isn’t Enough

Thirty-three signatories embrace Reagan’s vision: Allow for sensible levels of open immigration.

Monday, July 10, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT
At this critical moment in the immigration debate, conservatives need to examine the role we are playing in this great national issue. In many respects, the way we position ourselves on immigration will determine whether we retain the mantle of majority leadership. What side of history do conservatives want to be on? Will we remain a movement that governs–that offers practical solutions to the problems facing the country?
Conservatives have always prided themselves on acknowledging, in the words of John Adams, that “Facts are stubborn things.” Well, immigration–both the robust annual flow required to keep our economy growing and the 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country–is a fact of life in the U.S. today. And the only practical way to deal with these stubborn realities is with a comprehensive solution, one that includes border security, interior enforcement, a guest worker program and status for the illegal immigrants already here.
Some counsel that Congress should start with tougher enforcement and border security, but wait to create a guest worker program or address the illegal population. Only that way, it is said, can we avoid the mistakes of the failed 1986 immigration reform.
But in fact, the lesson of 1986 is that only a comprehensive solution will fix our broken immigration system.
The 1986 legislation combined amnesty for three million illegal immigrants with a promise of tougher enforcement, particularly in the workplace. But the law did not recognize the need for future immigration to meet the demands of a growing economy, and the new enforcement never materialized. The result? Twenty years later, illegal immigration is unabated. Why? Because while immigrants continue to be drawn to the jobs created by our economy, they have no legal way to enter the country.
What this history teaches is that the only way to control immigration is with a combination package–securing the border, enforcing the law in the workplace and creating legal channels for workers to enter the country.
Our past experience with guest worker programs bears this out. Illegal immigration reached a peak in the mid-’50s, and more than a million people were apprehended trying to cross the border in 1954. Then Congress expanded the Bracero work-visa program, creating a way for 300,000 immigrants to enter the U.S. legally each year.
The result? This new legal flow replaced the old illegal influx, and by 1964, INS apprehensions had dropped to fewer than 100,000. As the Congressional Research Service noted in 1980, “Without question, the Bracero program was . . . instrumental in ending the illegal alien problem of the mid-1940s and 1950s.” The Bracero program and the 1986 failure point in the same direction: A comprehensive solution is the only real and lasting way to address immigration.
The American people intuitively understand this, which is why, in poll after poll, they choose a comprehensive approach over one that relies on enforcement alone. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that Americans prefer a comprehensive plan to an enforcement-only proposal by 50% to 33%.
Of course, there are things in the Senate bill that need fixing–and conservatives must stand strong in favor of assimilation. New immigrants need to learn English, U.S. history and the values that have made this country great.
But let us remember the counsel of the great conservative standard-bearer, Ronald Reagan, who was in favor of strong borders–he once remarked that “a nation without borders is not really a nation”–but also constantly reminded us that America must remain a “beacon” and a “shining city on a hill” for immigrants who continually renew our great country with their energy and add to the nation’s economic growth and prosperity. Reagan was right. We need to do both things–secure the borders and allow for sensible levels of safe, open, lawful immigration.
Americans and immigrants share the same values of work and opportunity. There is no reason to fear the newcomers arriving on our shores today–if anything, they will energize what is best about our country.
The best way–the only way–to realize President Reagan’s vision is through comprehensive immigration reform legislation. We urge the House and Senate to work out their differences and meet the demand of the American people that we act on this critical issue in a comprehensive way.
Signed by:
Jack Kemp (former congressman from New York);
George P. Shultz (distinguished fellow, Hoover Institution);
Jeanne Kirkpatrick (former ambassador to the U.N.);
Tamar Jacoby (senior fellow, Manhattan Institute);
Cesar V. Conda (senior fellow, FreedomWorks);
Ken Weinstein (CEO, Hudson Institute);
Grover Norquist (president, Americans for Tax Reform);
Jeff Bell (board of directors, American Conservative Union);
Larry Cirignano (president, Catholic Alliance);
Bill Kristol (editor, The Weekly Standard);
Arthur B. Laffer (chairman, Laffer Investments);
Linda Chavez (chairman, Center for Equal Opportunity);
Elaine Dezenski (former acting assistant secretary for policy development, Department of Homeland Security);
Lawrence Kudlow (economics editor, National Review Online);
John Podhoretz (columnist, the New York Post);
John McWhorter (senior fellow, Manhattan Institute);
Joseph Bottum (editor, First Things);
Max Boot (senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations);
Vin Weber (former congressman from Minnesota);
Richard Gilder (partner, Gilder Gagnon Howe & Co., LLC);
Ed Goeas (Republican strategist);
Martin Anderson (senior fellow, Hoover Institution);
J.C. Watts (former congressman from Oklahoma);
Ed Gillespie (former chairman, Republican National Committee);
C. Stewart Verdery, Jr. (former assistant secretary for border and transportation security policy, Department of Homeland Security);
Diana Furchtgott-Roth (senior fellow, Hudson Institute);
Robert de Posada (president, the Latino Coalition);
Clint Bolick (president, Alliance for School Choice, and winner of 2006 Bradley Prize);
Steven Wagner (former director, human trafficking program, Department of Health and Human Services);
Steve Forbes (CEO, Forbes Inc.);
Gary Rosen (managing editor, Commentary);
Michael Petrucelli (former acting director, U.S. citizenship and immigration services, Department of Homeland Security);
And John C. Weicher (senior fellow, Hudson Institute).

35 thoughts on “Reagan’s real record on immigration”

  1. Once again, Henry conflates legal immigration with illegal immigration- and as anyone who’s been following the debate knows, the Wall Street Journal are pro-amnesty.
    For the benefit of Babalu’s readers, here is a good definition of amnesty, courtesy of Fred Thompson-
    “Here’s my definition of amnesty. If you get something that you otherwise didn’t have, to the extent that you get it, that’s amnesty. You steal a television and a radio and get caught and have to give back the television, that’s amnesty. That’s not as much amnesty as if you get to keep everything. But if you get citizenship, or a pathway to citizenship and get to remain in this country because of your illegal activity, that’s amnesty to that extent.”

  2. There are already 79 different visas offered by U.S. immigration, including 20 guest-worker programs. To say we are not bringing in enough workers- and giving them more than sufficient legal means to do so is simply factually inaccurate.
    The number of TYPES of visas is not a reflection on the actual number of people that we allow to migrate to the U.S. How many visas are issued and is it in alignment with the reality of the demographic crisis that we are facing?
    We have 80 million Baby Boomers that will start retiring in 2010. Americans are not replacing themselves. If not for immigration (legal and illegal) we’d have negative population growth. And contrary to the commonly held wisdom, that’s not a good thing economically, especially given the size of the entitlements that seniors get in our country.
    Demographers are predicting that we will soon have 2 workers for every retiree. That’s a scary proposition. Hispanics, which make up the majority of immigrants (legal and illegal) are on average 12 years younger than non-Hispanics. They also tend to have larger households because they have more kids. They are for the most part Christian and maintain traditional family values. More than non-Hispanics they aspire to own their own homes and businesses. In short, they are a tailor-made audience for a conservative GOP message not the nativist populist message these candidates are tripping all over themselves to get out there.
    If you read that open letter there’s plenty of FisCons that agree with a more open immigration policy. Everyone from Jack Kemp to Art Laffer.
    Again I ask. If we were to seal the border tomorrow, and in a year’s time give all the illegals (except the felons) amnesty, who exactly would that be hurting? And don’t tell me, the people who are waiting patiently outside the country to get in because their cases are not determined by the number of illegals inside the country. And why are they waiting anyway? Why can’t they pass a background check and come here? Why are the limits on immigration so low that we have a backlog of people waiting to get in? New immigrants means new consumers, which means more workers, which means more tax revenues to fund those retirements.

  3. “Again I ask. If we were to seal the border tomorrow, and in a year’s time give all the illegals (except the felons) amnesty, who exactly would that be hurting?”
    It further undermines respect for the rule of law, which is harmful to the broader society, not just shortchanging people who are coming here legally. You can’t plausibly argue for amnesty as the first part of any immigration enforcement effort because it immediately undercuts the whole point of what you’re trying to accomplish. I do not support granting any illegals citizenship, and im certainly im not interested in further changing the electoral demographics of the country (look at what illegal immigration has done to California’s electoral makeup).
    My earlier point about the number of types of visas was to display all of the legal means that illegals had to avail themselves of, but chose to ignore.

  4. I find your points on illegal immigration very interesting. You point out the cost of illegals on the tax payers in regards to social services and education (which they don’t deserve). This is all accurate, but you fail to point out the fact that the majority of illegals that do come here are the scum of the countries they come from. No education, no ambition, they just want hand me downs. I know your going to say I’m evil for thinking such things, but the truth is that they are product of their own making so their govt’s should be held responsible. Seriously the beaners you see coming over the border can’t even speak spanish, and we expect to learn english? United States has it’s own problems, we don’t need to turn our southern states into third world countries. Have you ever been to to a border town? I a proud Republican, don’t want to see my tax dollars spent on illegals or anchor babies (they are not U.S. Citizens). It’s about time that we the citizens of this great country stop playing the nice guy and start calling a spade a spade.

  5. I find your points on illegal immigration very interesting. You point out the cost of illegals on the tax payers in regards to social services and education (which they don’t deserve). This is all accurate, but you fail to point out the fact that the majority of illegals that do come here are the scum of the countries they come from. No education, no ambition, they just want hand me downs. I know your going to say I’m evil for thinking such things, but the truth is that they are product of their own making so their govt’s should be held responsible. Seriously the beaners you see coming over the border can’t even speak spanish, and we expect to learn english? United States has it’s own problems, we don’t need to turn our southern states into third world countries. Have you ever been to to a border town? I a proud Republican, don’t want to see my tax dollars spent on illegals or anchor babies (they are not U.S. Citizens). It’s about time that we the citizens of this great country stop playing the nice guy and start calling a spade a spade.
    Hey tancredo, that’s bigoted bullshit.
    And Lucha what’s the point of having 79 TYPES of visas or 779 if they are impossible to obtain. I never said Amnesty first. I have said in my many postings on the subject that my plan would be 4-fold.
    1. Security fence and increased border security to bring the flow of illegals to trickle (if a complete halt can’t be achieved) rather than overflow we have now.
    2. A way to make the current illegals legal. Amnesty
    3. An increase in the numbers of VISAS allocated, not the TYPES of visas. We need more immigrants not less.
    4. Free trade agreements with the countries that are the main sources of immigration to improve the economic conditions in those countries. Yes I know other factors like corruption are at play but you have to start somewhere.

  6. Bigoted Bullshit? Dude the facts are the facts. Better yet, I don’t need no stinken facts, I just have to walk outside. hahaha “We’re surrounded”

    Even though you are not nailing it down bro we still love you hermano! We enjoy your writings even those that stimulate cultured debate as this one.
    You see, you commi loving readers that never post anything, that us Miami (and beyond) mafiosos can argue among ourselves and still line up on the front lines, con machete en una mano y el acha en la otra, to fight your poison called communism.
    Now that i got that off my hairy chest back to RR. He was the first Pres I ever voted for. I kept tabs on him y si era optomistic pero responsble optomism.
    El era como un abuelito, the adult in the room, when it came to politics and power. I thank God that Henry admires him. Well…..that’s all ya’ll….carry on…

  8. Readytoshoot, let me give you my perspective. I am a lawyer, I work really hard. When I was with one particular firm it was 80-90 hour workweeks on a regular basis. But really, what do I do all day? I read contracts, write emails, maybe some research, from my comfy office. Illegals who come here, although they are poor, uneducated, etc., they come here to WORK. And when I consider the TYPE of work they do, and compare it to what I do, I’m put to shame. They do back-breaking labor for pennies. And I think I’m working hard?? They work way more hours than I do, and they are spit upon. So I wouldn’t call them the scum of the earth. They actually come here because the US is truly the land of opportunity.
    For the US — it’s cheap labor. Why are we making such a big deal over this issue? What country purposely turns down cheap labor so vehemently?
    Let’s put this in perspective. We have a cheap source of labor doing jobs that no one else wants to do, and although they do use up some of our public services, the USA still experiences a net economic benefit. And the best objection is “it undermines the rule of law?”
    Unless – readytoshoot – you’ve been denied access to that migrant farm hand career you’ve always dreamed of? The New York City Chinese food store rejected your application for delivery boy on a rusted bicycle in the snow? Your ambitions of washing dishes shattered?
    Look, I’m obviously in favor of rule of law, and illegal is illegal. I’m just saying that this issue is getting blown way out of proportion when there are much bigger fish to fry in our nation.

  9. Guajiro, thank sir. Dave, I agree with you 100%. A big part of my job is find out what makes Hispanic consumers tick. As you know a big part of the Hispanic consumer market is made up of illegals. And these people are for the most part family oriented Christians that aspire to home and property ownership as well as to be independent business persons. I’ve come into contact with hundreds of Hispanics from lower socioeconomic strata. One time we did a focus group of women from households with income of less than 15,000 per year. The client couldn’t believe these women were so poor. Each and every one was dressed in their Sunday best, hair done up and best jewelry they had on. They simply could not be in public, talking to strangers unless they were “decent”.
    I should add that in addition to the WSJ there’s a group of economic conservatives that supports the same position I support. Not only that our 3 congresspersons all have staked positions of more open immigration policies (that doesn’t mean more illegals it means making legal immigration easier) and have backed McCain, I think largely because of that.
    Now I’m not backing McCain. I like Thompson and my second choice right now is Romney because of their overall programs but I wish they would moderate their views on this issue. I don’t see how the “deport them now” mantra appeals to anything but the worse instincts in people.

  10. It’s impossible to have an honest debate, Henry, when you intentionally mischaracterize your opponents’ argument. I am not a supporter of a “deport them all now on buses”- I am for attrition through enforcement, which is much more sensible and realistic. Once the incentives to stay are removed, and employers are forced to change their hiring practices, people will leave on their own volition. It goes without saying that Illegals who have committed any crime should be immedidately deported. That’s what I support, hermano.
    One of the more frustrating aspects of this debate is the lack of intellectual honesty by supporters of amnesty- either by labeling them bigots, or intentionally distorting our positions.
    Second, as to the assertion that this issue is getting blown way out of proportion- I find this attitude utterly naive, in the post-9-11 age. Even your guy Rudy had to own up to the fact that his liberalism in NY during his mayor was simply naive of the realities we face. Islamic radicals are trying to infiltrate this country through a number of different paths, whether you realize it or not. When the building plans of U.S. school buildings are found in Iraq and Afghanistan, you had better own up to this reality real quick- this is a deadly serious issue, and the borders are the front lines.

  11. Lucha,
    I never said your position is deport them now, but the most outspoken politicians on the issue do have that mindset. Frankly, and don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not worried about your opinions, I’ve worried about the hateful rhetoric that some elected officials have engaged in.
    You don’t thing what “Readytoshoot” said is bigoted?
    As for the deport them all mentality I had this post from NRO’s Corner in mind.
    The Deportation Albatross? [Victor Davis Hanson]
    It is easy for the Republican candidates to claim they are against amnesty, and, indeed, we all should be, given how the 1986 act only made the problem much worse.
    But the devil is in the details. All can agree that should we close the borders (through fencing, employer sanctions, more patrolling, enforcement of the law, etc.), and should deport those with criminal records, and perhaps illegals who have been on public assistance instead of gainfully employed.
    And perhaps we can even come up with a general sense that those who just arrived here a year or two ago, or even three or four years ago, should be sent back home. But what about those who have been here for several years, have been gainfully employed, never been on public assistance and are free of criminal records? What are we to do with these?
    Rounding up several million (8-9 perhaps of the 11-15 here) won’t be easy. I can just imagine some 60-year-olds in my home town, still at work in landscaping after 40 years, who have never been arrested, own homes, and haven’t a clue what Oaxaca looks like after 40 years, suddenly put on a bus back there. So while it is easy to say, “I oppose amnesty in all its forms,” note apparently how difficult it is for the candidates to make the next intellectually honest and logical corollary, “Thus I am for the mass deportation of all illegal aliens.”
    It is fine and good to talk of “attrition” by slowly and incrementally rounding up illegal aliens as they come in contact with government agencies and need various licenses, papers, statements, etc., but you are still talking about deporting millions, who are currently working and crime-free, rather promptly. The odd thing is that should illegal immigration cease at the border, the pool of illegals here, properly screened, would become static, and not be replenished, and, if the past is any guide, within a generation melt into the American pot.
    So it seems that while “amnesty” is a political death sentence, so is mass deportation-the only element of the immigration debate that would play into the hands of the Democrats who otherwise lose big on the issue.
    Far better it would be for the Republican candidates to talk of securing the border first, weeding out those who just arrived, have been convicted of crimes, or never worked, but then talking of an earned citizenship program, that has rather clear markers like learning English, paying a fine, and passing a citizenship test — while still working and residing in the U.S. If the border was secure, all of that need not morph, as in the past, into a rolling amnesty.
    Bottom line: Republicans have to be careful that they don’t turn a windfall issue (the Democrats are mostly open-borders and captive to the identity-politics wing of the party) into a mass deportation albatross.
    As you know NRO is not a liberal web site.

  12. I agree that NRO is not a liberal website, but the majority of its writers and contributors are against amnesty. They”ve had a spirited debate at National Review, but the prevailing view supports my view- attrition through enforcement.
    As to readytoshoot’s take on illegals- it is shortsighted in some regards, but it does contain some truth. Yes, many illegals come here who do want nothing but to work, and they would be non-threatening and law-abiding, if not for the fact that they ignored our law to come here.
    But most illegals are from Mexico’s underclass- the same people who the government of Mexico are happy to send our way, because they refuse to grow their economy and remove the systemic corruption within its Government, which would ultimately provide them with opportunities to work. Also, there are others illegals who want to avail themselves of our generous welfare system as well. There is also a criminal element amongst the illegal population- violent gangs, MS-13 who populate our jails- upwards of 15 percent of California’s inmate population are illegals.
    If you want to be intellectually honest and accurately assess the illegal immigrant population, you have to admit that many segments of it are not harmless to law-abiding Americans.

  13. And there aren’t laws that you ignore every day with stakes that are much less important than trying to make life for yourself. Look I’m not going to argue about intellectual honesty.
    I’ve written extensively on this issue and my positions are consistent and intellectually hones. I believe the Tancredo credo is harmful to America and harmful to the GOP. There’s plenty of Republicans that agree with me including two of the current candidates for president. I never said that that a segment of illegal immigrants don’t cause harm, but as a Cuban I’m very sensitive to generalizations.
    Maybe it’s 12 years of working with Hispanics, many of which are or were at some point illegal immigrants has made me see what they are really all about.
    Any Cuban that arrives here on a smuggling vessel is also violating the law. Where’s your intellectual honesty? Would you be willing to deport them? How about to a third country?
    If you don’t agree with me, fine but don’t call me dishonest.
    I never said you, lucha libre, are a bigot. I never said you were dishonest. But readytoshoot made some overtly bigoted comments and you are defending his generalizations. And I deleted the most vile comments that post generated.
    If amnesty were granted automatically tomorrow to people in a program similar to 1986, the fact is that it would not change your life in the slightest.
    Also, all of these anti-amnesty politicians are quick to pay lip service to the concept that we are a nation of immigrants then they say “but the legal way” yet when their ancestors came there were no quotas like we have today. There were a lot of people that didn’t want the Jews, the Poles, the italians, the Irish. Yet they came and there were no laws against their coming.
    I’m afraid that’s all I’m going to say you about the matter. You know where I stand and I know where you stand.

  14. Henry, I acknowledge that we agree to disagree. But my assertions as my characterization of the overall illegal population are true, unless you want to specifically deny that there is a criminal element amogst them, there are gang members amongst them, and there are people who specifically come here to abuse our welfare system.
    You can say that an amnesty would “not change my life in the slightest”. Tell that to the parents of hundreds of U.S. citizens murdered by illegals from Mexico- it’s not some abstraction to them. The problem, it seems, is your refusal to look honestly at the bigger picture, rather than your remove yourself from your rather myopic take on the issue.

  15. Every single immigrant group I mentioned had a criminal element to it. You know this. And they faced a lot of the same type of rhetoric that illegal immigrants face today. And what about the parents of children murdered by natural born American citizens, is it any consolation for them that they weren’t murdered by dirty Mexicans that came to sponge off the welfare state?

  16. Yes, that’s true, I am not saying merely Mexicans have a criminal element. Violence will always be an issue within any society, but the illegal problem only exacerabates the problem, and that violence would have been entirely preventable if we had shut our borders, and pursued attrition through enforcement.
    Those crimes would never have occurred if we had been more vigilant, and the problem is still ongoing today. The fact remains that those violent illegals and gangs are far, far less likely commit their crimes on U.S. soil if they actually were forced to come here through legal means in the first place. We have enough problems with violence without the illegal population, but we don’t have to literally pour salt on our own wounds.

  17. Shutting the border down now, which I’m in favor of doesn’t do anything for the millions living in the shadows.
    Black on Black crime is the type of crime that’s most prevalent in the U.S. We wouldn’t have that problem if we had never imported slaves. So then I guess we should send blacks back to Africa.

  18. Henry, it’s quite clear you are getting defensive on the issue, and your logic is flawed. You continually ascribe arguments to me that I would never make. I will take that as a sign that you lost this debate, but as always, you are certainly entitled to your opinion.

  19. Huh?
    The fact that I post a quote demonstrating that what you are saying about Mexicans et al was almost verbatim said by others about us?
    Or is it the fact that I point out what we learn in kindergarten, that two wrongs don’t make a right?

  20. Why do you imply that I want send blacks back to Africa? That’s simply a ridiculous logical fallacy on your part.
    Also, let’s stop this nonsensical talk about “living in the shadows”. Most people would be thrilled it if the government didn’t know of their existence.
    Look, I will leave you with this thought on the matter- I am pro-immigration- but I only want law abiding people to come here. I want to knowingly discriminate against people who have criminal backgrounds from coming here. I think citizenship should be provisional- you commit a violent crime, and you should be deported immediately. This is our home, and we get to choose who comes here. I only want the best and the brighest, the most appreciative, and those looking to better themselves and their families, irregardless of national origin or ethnicity. But at the same time, I think it’s very unwise to allow 15,000 Saudi “students” entrance into our country, which is exactly what we are doing- and that’s legal immgration. Bottom line- illegal immigration needs to end now, legal immigration should be more considered in this day and age, and amnesty can’t be permitted, because it further erodes respect for the law.

  21. I’m simply taking your argument to its logical conclusion. Because a mistake was made before and it has resulted in negative consequences to society that it needs to be corrected by removing the products of those mistakes from our territory.
    It’s a debating tactic. You wanted a debate didn’t you?
    I agree with you that illegal immigration needs to end now. Where I disagree with you is about what to do with the ones that are already here.
    And living in the shadows is correct. These people are afraid to report crimes. They can’t get driver licenses. They can’t seek redress when they are exploited and abused.

  22. Oye People!
    I found this great article on Ronald Reagan:
    What are ten core beliefs of a Reaganite conservative?
    1. The idea that an individual was and should always be the master of his or her own destiny.
    2. The belief in the unique character and powers of every human being and their personal opinions.
    3. A belief in freedom under law, as opposed to the concept of modern liberalism that power is everything.
    4. A belief that collectivism and the centralizing of power in Washington threatened Americans with a loss of freedom in their own communities and daily lives.
    5. A belief in the individual over bureaucracy.
    6. That modern liberalism has, in the words of Whittaker Chambers, a “vindictiveness…of temper.”
    7. That, as Reagan wrote, “we cannot diminish the value of an entire category of human life — the unborn — without diminishing the value of all human life.”
    8. That we will all die, but what makes the difference, as Reagan once said, is what we die for. That there are things worth dying for, and peace, alas, can never be purchased at any price but strength.
    9. That freedom belongs to every individual by divine right.
    10. That freedom is better than control.
    And of course my favorite……”A country without borders is not a country.” We need to enforce the borders yesterday.

  23. “And living in the shadows is correct. These people are afraid to report crimes. They can’t get driver licenses. They can’t seek redress when they are exploited and abused. ”
    Did you think, Henry, that most illegal immigrants came to this country to become responsible citizens in the fullest sense of the term? Do you really think that the most pressing concern of people who come here illegally is to report crime? Or are illegals, by their very definition, merely looking out for the own self-interests, which includes covering up their tracks and covering up their own illegal status.
    Every time you make a counterargument, you only highlight the enormous shortcomings of both illegal immigration and amnesty.

  24. I never disagreed with that. But we failed to do that and now we have a mess that can be addressed in one of 3 ways.
    1. We give the majority of these people who contrary to the generalizations are not criminals or sponging off the state a path to legal status.
    2. We round up all 12 million of them and deport them.
    3. We ignore them and allow the current untenable situation to persist.
    I think that number 2 is tempting to a lot of people but will eventually prove impracticable and if actually implemented will ultimately prove unpalatable to the majority of the American people.
    In actuality the 3rd is probably what will happen to the detriment of the immigrants and the country.
    By the way here’s some quotes from the reagan administration:
    I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.
    -Ronald Reagan at Debate Between the President and Former Vice President Walter F. Mondale in Kansas City, Missouri, October 21, 1984
    Just over a year ago the President signed into law the most sweeping immigration reform in more than three decades. Among the provisions of the new law was a generous legalization or amnesty provision that allows persons who are unlawfully in the United States to become legal residents if they meet certain requirements.
    In general, they must have lived here continuously with only brief absences since prior to 1982, and they must have been contributing members of our society and free from serious criminal violations of our laws. More than 1-1/4 million persons have already come forward to accept this one-time amnesty provision in the immigration laws. They are made up of nearly every nationality. By their actions in this country over the past 6 years, they have demonstrated that they deserve the privilege of remaining here in a fully legal status without having to live in an underground society and fearing discovery of their unlawful existence in this great nation. Like other immigrants who have come through normal, lawful channels, they have shown a great willingness to work and contribute to our nation while sharing in our economic well being.
    -Statement by Assistant to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on Immigration Amnesty
    I can understand their concern and their fear. I think that if we take every precaution we can in that immigration bill to make sure that there is not discrimination simply based on the not wanting to bother as to whether an individual is legal or not, I think we can protect against that.
    But the simple truth is that we’ve lost control of our own borders, and no nation can do that and survive. And I think the thing that they should be looking at, that should be of the greatest appeal to them is the very generous amnesty, that all the way up to 1982, we’re ready to give those people permanent residency.
    -Ronald Reagan: The President’s News Conference on June 14, 1984 at the London Economic Summit
    Our Administration continues to support legislation to reform the Nation’s immigration laws. This includes granting amnesty to certain qualified aliens and prohibiting employment of illegal aliens.
    -Ronald Reagan: Message to the Congress on America’s Agenda for the Future
    February 6, 1986
    I have to say that, beginning back in 1981, I supported the principle of reform in our immigration laws because we, in a way, have lost control of our borders. Right now, I have to say with regard to the Simpson bill that — and we’ve informed of this — that we support generally his bill, but there are some amendments that we think are necessary. For one, we very much need in any immigration bill — we need protection for people who are in this country and who have not become citizens, for example, that they are protected and legitimized and given permanent residency here. And we want to see some things of that kind added to the immigration bill.
    -Ronald Reagan: Interview With Guillermo Descalzi of the Spanish International Network, September 13, 1985
    We have consistently supported a legalization program which is both generous to the alien and fair to the countless thousands of people throughout the world who seek legally to come to America. The legalization provisions in this act will go far to improve the lives of a class of individuals who now must hide in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society. Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight and, ultimately, if they choose, they may become Americans.
    -Ronald Reagan: Statement on Signing the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, November 6, 1986

  25. I KNOW most of them came here to earn money because they couldn’t in their own country. Because we have jobs they can do and earn a living. It’s why they come by themselves and send money back to their families. To feed the ones they love. They then save enough money to bring those families here. So they can have a house, a car, a TV set and a quality education for their kids.
    THEY come for the same DAMNED reasons tens of millions have come here before them. They are no different that the Irish that fled the potato famine or the Italians that fled their corrupt country.
    You may not like for it to be pointed out but your prejudice is certainly showing.

  26. Henry, I think you made excellent points about all immigrant groups — Irish, Italians, etc., and Cubans as well.
    Lucha, I think you brought up an interesting point about security in a post-9/11 world, but then you undermined your own position by saying how we admit middle eastern students legally.
    With regard to domestic security in a post 9/11 world (read: keeping terrorists out of US soil), what do you think would be a better use of our resources? A method based on intelligence reports and sophisticated, targeted surveillance techniques? Or tracking a bunch of poor Mexican migrant farmers and building a huge wall on the US/Mexico border (but not the Canadian border)?
    Let’s keep the US safe by monitoring those who are REALISTICALLY threats to security.

  27. Dave-
    For the record, I am not in agreement with allowing 15,000+ students from Saudi Arabia to come here legally- bad, bad idea.
    There are credible reports that Islamic terrorists have already penetrated the southern border. Radio intercepts have already picked up arabic transmissions of suspicion emanating from Mexico and South America. Hamas is openly setting up shop in Venezuela. It’s no secret to the Islamists that we have a gaping border down south- and they are here to exploit it. The border must be shut and constantly survielled.

  28. The border must be shut and constantly surveilled.
    I have never disagreed with this fundamental point.
    Amnesty for those that are here already and would still be here even after the border is effectively closed down has nothing to do with national security since presumably those who apply for and get the amnesty will be subject to security screenings and background checks.

  29. Lucha, I know you’re not in favor of letting 15000 Saudi students come here. My point was to use your statement to bolster my own argument. We can use our brains to figure out where to look for terrorists in US soil. We don’t need a fence to do that. We can use our brains.
    Really, how hard is it to pick out an Islamic terrorist from a bunch of Mexican migrant workers? You don’t have to be CIA-trained to do that.

  30. Dave, you have to be kidding me, and im glad your not an intelligence analyst. Haven’t you heard that al-Quaeda has been actively recruiting non-Muslim people to their cause, including Mexicans and South Americans? The next terrorist attacks in the states probably won’t be committed by people with towels on their heads waiving the Koran.
    Henry, there are many aspects to the immigration debate, and im glad we agree on shutting the border down aggressively. Where we part company is on amnesty, and im aware that it’s a different issue altogether.

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