“We draw our people, our strength, from every country and every corner of the world.” Ronald Reagan, January 19, 1989
As the man posing as our leader once again tries to convince the American people to adopt his un-American immigration policies, it is a good time to remember what real American leadership looks like and what America really stands for.
Americans are good people. But we have elected a bad man as our leader. We might not be able to fix that mistake until the next election. But we do not have to support his efforts to implement policies that do real harm to our past, present, and future.
Rather than listen to our demagogue-in-chief continue to lie and stir up fear to support his transparently racist agenda, let’s recall a time when America was greater than it is today and a leader who was a far better man than Donald Trump could ever dream of becoming.
America represents something universal in the human spirit. I received a letter not long ago from a man who said, ‘You can go to Japan to live, but you cannot become Japanese. You can go to France to live and not become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey, and you won’t become a German or a Turk.’ But then he added, ‘Anybody from any corner of the world can come to America to live and become an American’ … RONALD REAGAN, JANUARY 19, 1989
This I believe is one of the most important sources of America’s greatness. We lead the world because unique among nations, we draw our people, our strength, from every country and every corner of the world … Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge; always leading the world to the next frontier … Ronald Reagan, January 19, 1989
It is bold men and women, yearning for freedom and opportunity, who leave their homelands and come to a new country to start their lives over. They believe in the American dream. And over and over, they make it come true for themselves, for their children, and for others. They give more than they receive. They labor and succeed. And often they are entrepreneurs.
But their greatest contribution is more than economic because they understand in a special way how glorious it is to be an American. They renew our pride and gratitude in the United States of America, the greatest, freest nation in the world—the last, best hope of man on Earth. RONALD REAGAN, JANUARY 19, 1989
Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush Debate Immigration in 1980
“These are good people. Strong people. Part of my family is Mexican” George H. W. Bush, April 4, 1980
“Rather than talking about putting up a fence, why don’t we work out some recognition of our mutual problems, make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit. And then while they’re working and earning here, they pay taxes here. And when they want to go back they can go back.” Ronald Reagan, April 4, 1980
Immigrants- Legal AND ILLEGAL- Pay Taxes
Ronald Reagan Signs Historical Bipartisan, Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act in 1986
06 Nov 1986, Washington, DC, USA — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
“This bill, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, that I will sign in a few minutes is the most comprehensive reform of our immigration laws since 1952. It’s the product of one of the longest and most difficult legislative undertakings in the last three Congresses. Further, it’s an excellent example of a truly successful bipartisan effort. The administration and the allies of immigration reform on both sides of the Capitol and both sides of the aisle worked together to accomplish these critically important reforms to control illegal immigration.
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed a major immigration law that offered amnesty to people in the country illegally who arrived prior to 1982.
In 1981 this administration asked the Congress to pass a comprehensive legislative package, including employer sanctions, other measures to increase enforcement of the immigration laws, and legalization. The act provides these three essential components. Distance has not discouraged illegal immigration to the United States from all around the globe. The problem of illegal immigration should not, therefore, be seen as a problem between the United States and its neighbors. Our objective is only to establish a reasonable, fair, orderly, and secure system of immigration into this country and not to discriminate in any way against particular nations or people. Ronald Reagan, November 6, 1986
“They helped to build that magnificent city across the river. They spread across the land building other cities and towns and incredibly productive farms.
They came to make America work. They didn’t ask what this country could do for them but what they could do to make this refuge the greatest home of freedom in history. They brought with them courage, ambition and the values of family, neighborhood, work, peace, and freedom. They came from different lands but they shared the same values, the same dream.” Ronald Reagan, September 1, 1980
Whatever position one takes on immigration, it says a lot about the dramatic transformation of the Republican Party, from Reaganism to Trumpism. Reagan emphasized the importance of the U.S. as an idea that transcends it’s mere physical space, whereas Trump is more focused on it as a distinct land mass. To Trumpists, Reagan’s vision was a naive Hollywood portrait of immigration, as demonstrated by the aftermath of the amnesty he signed in 1986, whereas Trump is being more realistic and protective of Americans. To NeverTrumpers, Reagan’s vision was inspiring and hopeful and optimistic and inclusive, whereas Trump has taken things to a much darker place.” Philip Klein, January 18, 2018, The Washington Examiner
And if you want to say it was a different time, you are correct. The world is much safer now. Great leaders inspire hope- not fear.
Trump’s Immigration Policies are About Racism- Not Safety
THERE IS NO CRISIS AT THE BORDER
“As the Great Wall’s history shows, border fortifications are expensive, divisive—and useful political tools.”
Donald Trump is on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of the facts. Ronald Reagan represents American greatness. Donald Trump embodies its worst impulses.
Donald Trump is WRONG. He is wrong about immigrants. He is wrong about the effect of immigrants on our culture and economy. He is wrong about our history. He is wrong about what this country represents. If you support him, you are wrong too.