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What Reagan said about undocumented immigrants
Ryan Teague Beckwith, Digital First Media
Posted: 01/28/2013 03:04:46 PM PST
Updated: 01/28/2013 03:07:36 PM PST
11/6/1986 President Reagan in the Roosevelt Room signing S. 1200 Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 with Dan Lungren Strom Thurmond George Bush Romano Mazzoli and Alan Simpson looking on
View the story "What Reagan said about undocumented immigrants" on Storify
What Reagan said about undocumented immigrants
Digital First Media
· Mon, Jan 28 2013 15:01:07
A bipartisan group of senators has outlined an immigration overhaul that would include a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants. A similar bill was signed into law in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, a hero to many in the conservative movement.
With much of the opposition to the new proposal likely to come from the right, you may hear one of these five quotes from Reagan to make the case for changing immigration law, especially given President Barack Obama's
penchant for quoting him
'The illegal alien fuss'
In a Nov. 29, 1977, radio address, Reagan criticized the U.S. Department of Labor for requiring apple growers in New England to hire Americans, a policy it dropped when
not enough could be found to do the work
"When the Labor Department is forced to relent and let these visitors do this work it is of course all legal. But it makes one wonder about the illegal alien fuss. Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won't do? One thing is certain in this hungry world; no regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the field for lack of harvesters."
'Put down roots'
(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
In an Oct. 21, 1984, debate with Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale, Reagan
endorsed a comprehensive immigration
overhaul that Congress was debating.
"I supported this bill. I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here even though sometime back they may have entered illegally."
'The right to legally live here'
(AP Photo/Ira Schwarz)
In a July 2, 1984, interview with San Antonio TV reporters, Reagan again
endorsed the immigration overhaul
"We want to be very careful that while we have safeguards to prevent employers from hiring the undocumented workers, that at the same time there is no discrimination against those who will be legalized under this bill, those who may still be undocumented but who've lived for a long period of time, put down roots in our society. We want to give them the right to legally live here and those who, as you say, are citizens."
'Protected and legitimized'
(AP Photo/Scott Stewart)
In a Nov. 13, 1985, interview with the Spanish International Network, Reagan called for a
path to permanent residency
for undocumented immigrants to be added to the immigration overhaul being considered in Congress.
"For one, we very much need in any immigration bill -- we need protection for people who are in this country and who have not become citizens, for example, that they are protected and legitimized and given permanent residency here. And we want to see some things of that kind added to the immigration bill."
'Step into the sunlight'
(AP Photo/Barry Thumma)
On Nov. 6, 1986, Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which allowed undocumented immigrants to become citizens if they paid a fine and back taxes and admitted guilt. From his
"We have consistently supported a legalization program which is both generous to the alien and fair to the countless thousands of people throughout the world who seek legally to come to America. The legalization provisions in this act will go far to improve the lives of a class of individuals who now must hide in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society. Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight and, ultimately, if they choose, they may become Americans."
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