Ronald Reagan has long been an empty canvas on to which the right paints whatever image it wants, calling him a champion of this or that when the facts say he was the exact opposite. Trump is now doing that with his position on immigration, falsely claiming that Reagan tried to build a border wall too. He did not. In fact, he was in favor of what Trump would (inaccurately) call open borders. Trump tweeted this:
Even President Ronald Reagan tried for 8 years to build a Border Wall, or Fence, and was unable to do so. Others also have tried. We will get it done, one way or the other!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
And now, a word from the real world, which Trump rarely visits:
Should “illegal aliens,” the crowd member asked, be allowed to attend U.S. public schools?
Bush said immigration policy needed to be “sensitive” and “understanding” toward the “really honorable, decent, family-loving people” that had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without documentation.
Reagan echoed that sentiment.
“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,” he said. “And then while they’re working and earning here, they pay taxes here. And when they want to go back they can go back.”
The border, he said, should be open “both ways” — and border security policy should take into account the economic challenges facing Mexico.
During a 1984 presidential debate with Walter Mondale, he said, “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here, even though some time back, they may have entered illegally.” And he followed through on that. In 1986, he signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which provided amnesty to about three million immigrants who had entered the country prior to 1982, the exact opposite of Trump’s position. Trump is lying. As always.