It’s the Border, Stupid: Key Step to Immigration Reform

Liberals want nothing to do with sealing off their supply of government dependents.
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Shortly before Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president, I wrote a column suggesting we call off the inauguration — because the president-elect’s brother, Neil, had just disclosed that their Irish grandfather, Michael, had snuck into America.

“He was probably one of the early wetbacks, except that he came in from Canada instead of Mexico,” Neil told The Los Angeles Times.
What kind of signal, I asked, would we be sending if we swore in Reagan as president?

We’d be saying that no matter how you got into America, if you could find a wife and raise a family, you could become the grandfather to a president.

It was a humor column, supporting the radical, pro-immigration sentiments enshrined in the Statue of Liberty.

Reagan was sworn in, of course. His polices ignited an economic boom. And that boom attracted huge — in some cases, record — numbers of legal and illegal immigrants.

The way the Gipper carried all that off is one of the glories of his presidency, though it was not without its controversies. The big one was a bill known as Simpson-Mazzoli.



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