This week the debate on immigration has centered on the evil of children being forcefully separated from their parents to make a political statement on immigration. As always, this has resulted in partisan politics where each political party, the Democrats and the Republicans blames the other for the imbroglio. Lost in all of the noise is that the Democrats are as much to blame, if not more, than the Republicans. I’m often accused of being “anti-Trump,” I am, or a Democrat, I am not.

Here’s the reality that I have touched on before and many forget, Ronald Reagan wanted open borders.

What?! Yes, the Ronald Reagan that many Republicans channel as the Republican of Republicans stated in 1980 that;

“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 are working, and earning here, they pay taxes here. And when they want to go back, they go back, and open the border both ways.”

That was Ronald Reagan during the 1980 primary debate with George H. W. Bush. Reagan added during the 1984 debate against Walter Mondale that he, Reagan, believed in amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

Ronald Reagan talked the talk and backed it up with action. Reagan pushed through the 1986 Immigration and Reform Act, the last major legislation on immigration reform that recognized immigrants for their contributions to the United States. Reagan wanted open borders, but he was stymied along the way by a strong Republican minority that wants immigrants kept at bay.

However, it is important to note that it has been the Republicans who have offered immigrants better pathways towards reform than the Democrats. Unfortunately, today, Donald Trump is a Republican in label only and has empowered the xenophobes in the Republican Party to make public policy around demonizing immigrants.

When I object to Donald Trump, I am objecting to his hatred of Mexicans, the operative word being Trump, and not the Republican Party because in the history of immigration, the Republicans have been better for immigrants than the Democrats.

Just another little inconvenient fact many of you would like me to stop bringing up.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

One reply on “A Republican Wanted Open Borders, What Happened?”

  1. The GOP prosecuted the Civil War to end slavery, created the national parks, built the Panama Canal and signed the Environmental Protection Act. Hopefully, it will succeed in building a border wall that puts immigration policy back in our hands rather than the hordes of illegals, forcing a de facto migrant policy. Or, risk what is happening in Europe.

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