Skip to comments.A Reagan Legacy: Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants
Posted on 11/23/2011 12:43:17 PM PST by ez
As the nation's attention turns back to the fractured debate over immigration, it might be helpful to remember that in 1986, Ronald Reagan signed a sweeping immigration reform bill into law. It was sold as a crackdown: There would be tighter security at the Mexican border, and employers would face strict penalties for hiring undocumented workers.
But the bill also made any immigrant who'd entered the country before 1982 eligible for amnesty a word not usually associated with the father of modern conservatism.
In his renewed push for an immigration overhaul this week, President Obama called for Republican support for a bill to address the growing population of illegal immigrants in the country. This time, however, Republicans know better than to tread near the politically toxic A-word.
Part of this aversion is due to what is widely seen as the failure of Reagan's 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. However, one of the lead authors of the bill says that unlike most immigration reform efforts of the past 20 years, amnesty wasn't the pitfall.
"We used the word 'legalization,' " former Wyoming Sen. Alan K. Simpson tells NPR's Guy Raz. "And everybody fell asleep lightly for a while, and we were able to do legalization."
The law granted amnesty to nearly 3 million illegal immigrants, yet was largely considered unsuccessful because the strict sanctions on employers were stripped out of the bill for passage.
Simpson says the amnesty provision actually saved the act from being a total loss. "It's not perfect, but 2.9 million people came forward. If you can bring one person out of an exploited relationship, that's good enough for me."
Reagan And Amnesty
Nowadays, conservative commentators like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh often invoke the former president as a champion of the conservative agenda. Sean Hannity of Fox News even has a regular segment called "What Would Reagan Do?"
Simpson, however, sees a different person in the president he called a "dear friend."
Reagan "knew that it was not right for people to be abused," Simpson says. "Anybody who's here illegally is going to be abused in some way, either financially [or] physically. They have no rights."
Peter Robinson, a former Reagan speechwriter, agrees. "It was in Ronald Reagan's bones it was part of his understanding of America that the country was fundamentally open to those who wanted to join us here."
Reagan said as much himself in a televised debate with Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale in 1984.
"I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally," he said.
I am warming to Bachmann. She needs to stop reading her entire bio everytime she speaks and start focusing on real policy. And stop attacking the front-runners.
“The law granted amnesty to nearly 3 million illegal immigrants, yet was largely considered unsuccessful because the strict sanctions on employers were stripped out of the bill for passage. “ It’s in the part I posted, sorry.
Ronald Reagan did make a few mistakes. We should not base future decisions on them. The people have sp9oken loud and clearly, NO AMNESTY! With Newt buying Hispanic votes, he is no different than Obama in my book.
I think the ideal ticket would be Cain/Bachmann. I would prefer that Bachmann be on top of the ticket but I don’t believe they could win that way.
I remember the very day hearing on CNN about Reagan’s amnesty passing. Loved Reagan, but thought it was a terrible, terrible mistake. Indeed it was. Even more than I could have ever imagined back then. Another amnesty will be the end of the country for good.
Yeah, after several decades of consuming “News,” I am skeptical of certain sources. Dan Rather and NPR are at the top of any historic list of questionable sources. Believe them if you wish. Without independent verification, I don’t.
I can remember the days when it was really unusual to see a hispanic, now I feel like a minority in my own country.
Something has got to be done.
I don’t see any mention that the Dems were responsible for that or that they scuttled the funding which are the two things I commented on.
I don’t support amnesty. Newt actually said
“I don’t see how the party that says it’s the party of the family, is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century,” the former House Speaker said. “And I’m prepared to take the heat for saying ‘let’s be humane and enforce the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so they are not separate from their families.’”
That is not as extreme as what Reagan said in 84. Create legality, not give them citizenship. Get the difference?
No, it only says that the provisions were stripped from the bill, but does not place the blame where it belongs on Democrats. You are correct on that.
Right now, I don’t think we have anything close to an ideal ticket or an ideal candidate. I think I’m very thankful for Thanksgiving this year and I wish you and your family blessed and very happy Thanksgiving!
Leaving this primary season and politics off my table! I’ll actually be glad to watch football games! LOL.
the only thing RR did wrong was to trust democrats to honor their word. Kinda like the current leaders hoping the democrats would deal in good faith on the “stuper committee”. Trust the democrats as far as you can throw Nadler.
Anyone that thinks the democrats will even act in good faith gets the failure they deserve.
No mention in the article that the Dems scuttled funding for the security part of that deal.
Sounds like amnesty. They get to stay, their crime is forgiven and no doubt they keep drawing entitlement benefits to boot. Probably get to vote too.
So, what part of being a citizen do they not have? The responsibility and accountability?
“I dont support amnesty. Newt actually said ... Create legality, not give them citizenship. Get the difference?”
Because there is no difference. If by “creating legality” you mean making what was illegal, legal ... well—that’s the definition of “amnesty”.
We’re used to this kind of obfuscation from Zero (and Clinton). Spare us the bovine excrement.
You and Newt are full of beans.
This tells only half the story. The 1986 bill included a number of provisions that would have radically reduced the number of illegals coming here: that was the bargain Reagan drove: amnesty for certain illegals, and Congress was going to impose measures that would curtail the continued invasion. But it didn’t work, and it didn’t work for two reasons: 1) Reagan failed to realize the Congress was (is) unscrupulous and had no intention of living up to the enforcement and border security parts of the deal and 2) Reagan failed to remember that you get more of any kind of behavior that you reward. Total FAIL.