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We’ve Seen the Effect of “Amnesty” Before
Heritage Foundation ^ | 5/17/2013 | Edwin Meese

Posted on 05/17/2013 5:12:36 AM PDT by IbJensen

Experts can’t always predict exactly how public policy will affect the nation, despite our best efforts. But when it comes to immigration policy, we have tried many of the types of reforms advocated by today’s Gang of Eight—so we should consider the effects these reforms had in the past.

In the mid-’80s, many Members of Congress advocated amnesty for long-settled illegal immigrants. President Reagan considered it reasonable to adjust the status of what was then a relatively small population, and as his attorney general, I supported his decision.

The path to citizenship was not automatic. Immigrants had to pay application fees, learn to speak English, understand American civics, pass a medical exam, and register for military selective service. Those with convictions for a felony or three misdemeanors were ineligible.

This should sound familiar, as it’s quite close to the path and provisions set forth by the Gang of Eight.

Today they call it a “roadmap to citizenship.” Ronald Reagan called it “amnesty.” And he was right.

The 1986 reform did not solve our immigration problem—in fact, the population of illegal immigrants has nearly quadrupled since that “comprehensive” bill.

Why didn’t it work? Well, one reason is that everything else the 1986 bill promised—from border security to law enforcement—was to come later. It never did. Only amnesty prevailed, and that encouraged more illegal immigration.

Today, we have many of the same needs we did then. We need to work on better securing our border. We need to modernize our legal immigration system, including effective temporary worker programs. And we need strong enforcement of the laws we already have, including those that enforce immigration policies in the workplace.

The Gang of Eight is making promises now. “Border security” is a big promise. But their proposal spends money and grants amnesty without the guarantee that this promise will be kept.

We are having much the same debate and being offered much the same deal in exchange for promises largely dependent on the will of future Congresses and Presidents.

Instead, we should learn from our mistakes.

America welcomes more immigrants than any other country. As Ronald Reagan said:

In this free land a person can realize his dreams—going as far as talent and drive can carry him. In return America asks each of us to do our best, to work hard, to respect the law, to cherish human rights, and to strive for the common good. The immigrants who have so enriched America include people from every race, creed, and ethnic background. Yet all have been drawn here by shared values and a deep love of freedom. Most brought with them few material goods. But with their hearts and minds and toil they have contributed mightily to the building of this great Nation and endowed us with the riches of their achievements. Their spirit continues to nourish our own love of freedom and opportunity.

But in keeping open that door of opportunity, we also must uphold the rule of law and enhance a fair immigration process, as Reagan said, to “humanely regain control of our borders and thereby preserve the value of one of the most sacred possessions of our people: American citizenship.”


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: aliens; illegalimmigration
I daresay that Edwin Meese was the best attorney general in my lifetime. I say this after having lived, prospered and suffered under the 'leadership' of thirteen presidents. During that time only two were worth respect: Ronald W. Reagan and Dwight David Eisenhower and Reagan was light years ahead of DDE in leadership ability. It boils down to picking the right people for the administration and being a decent human being.

Now all that said I have, like most here, a thing to say about the disaster we refer to as illegal immigration.

All illegals: get out of this country now. Then just try to reenter legally by going to the back of the line which numbers over 5,000 who are currently applying for workers' visas, spouses, unmarried children, married children,parents and finally brothers. After a thorough check of intelligence and worthiness, these will join with those seeking asylum and refugee status. Why be concerned? There is a veritable ocean of people and if the hair-brained amnesty program rolls out of Congress after becoming law the deluge will be unmanageable. All because no one in Congress has the ability to think out what they are about to regurgitate. This entire mess may be due to the fact that each senator and representative have too damned many on their staff that have ability to write sentences and paragraphs, but lack the ability to think concisely.

Ditch this whole scheme and go back to rounding these criminals up and kicking their asses back across the border. Stop being a fool, America, and clean the mess out of this nation now. Stop allowing gaggles of Somalian

1 posted on 05/17/2013 5:12:36 AM PDT by IbJensen
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To: IbJensen

A good essay for all those who like to imply that the Reagan administration was about open borders.


2 posted on 05/17/2013 5:21:28 AM PDT by skeeter
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To: IbJensen

I heard Rush a while back mentioned amnesty a while back and gave said it should pass with one exception.

Don’t allow them to vote for 25 years.


3 posted on 05/17/2013 5:30:40 AM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (IÂ’m not a Republican, IÂ’m a conservative! Pubbies haven't been conservative since before T.R.)
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To: IbJensen

Close the borders.
Close the IRS.
Close the DHHS.
Close the DOE.

Put a good bounty on illegal aliens.


4 posted on 05/17/2013 5:30:45 AM PDT by ROCKLOBSTER (Hey RATs! Control your murdering freaks.)
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To: IbJensen

Reconstitute Eisenhower’s Operation Wetback. Deport ALL illegals and their anchor babies with them.

We can’t afford the 6+ trillion the parasites will suck out of us.

Let’s move from allowing in uneducated, unskilled workers with 15 kids to allowing in folks who can and will take care of themselves and theirs.

No more “press one for English” !


5 posted on 05/17/2013 2:29:31 PM PDT by jimt (Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed.)
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To: jimt

Thanks to events like the ridiculously inane idea of immigration as espoused by the likes of a Marco Rubio who would have all Americans carrying an identification card.

Switzerland, and dozens of other countries, allow NO ONE in unless they have a prescribed amount of capital and are able to manage their own lives successfully.

The USA is, thanks to the morons who can’t see past their insatiable hunger for power, a rapidly declining nation thanks to this destructive attitude towards immigration. We the people have no say in the demise of our country which is now one of the least free and most highly taxed in the world.

What do we get for allowing our corporations, individuals and institutions bullied and mugged by an evil arm of this central socialist government? We get a nation that is unsafe, not secure and cowering as the shadow of totalitarianism falls over us.

Our government has become evil and our leaders complicit.

Let’s hope for change....but actively be doing something about it.

Think of our military, managed by that labyrinth we call the Pentagon having just last week announced through edict that they have become the sole source of action in case of civil unrest. Does this explain the massive buying of billions of rounds of ammunition?

Our military is engaged in nations that despise us and can’t wait for our final demise. That military is working hard towards rebuilding nations that are being blown up as fast as a new structure is completed. What are they doing there while their nation is imploding?

With the higher echelon of our military apparatus being staffed by political generals and admirals the realization that we are doomed should be sinking in.


6 posted on 05/18/2013 4:59:20 AM PDT by IbJensen (Liberals are like Slinkies, good for nothing, but you smile as you push them down the stairs.)
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