Comment: Reagan vs Trump - Who is More American?
Ronald Reagan's vision of America and immigration was diametrically opposite to that of Donald Trump. Pro-immigration Republicans need to choose which of these two visions is the American vision consistent with the spirit of America and which is against the spirit of America, and therefore Anti-American. Future of the Republican Party hangs in balance.

Reagan described his vision as follows:

I've spoken of the shining city all my political life... And how stands the city on this winter night? ... After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true to the granite ridge, and her glow has held no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.

I, in my own mind, have always thought of America as a place in the divine scheme of things that was set aside as a promised land. It was set here and the price of admission was very simple: the means of selection was very simple as to how this land should be populated. Any place in the world and any person from those places; any person with the courage, with the desire to tear up their roots, to strive for freedom, to attempt and dare to live in a strange and foreign place, to travel halfway across the world was welcome here.

Notice Reagan's unshakable confidence in America, its greatness and its potential--and consequent openness and benevolence towards immigrants. Contrast this to the mindset of current Republican standard bearer who thinks of America as a has been and in inexorable decline--and consequently his fear of and antipathy towards immigrants.

Here are quotes from Ronald Reagan on undocumented immigration:

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.

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.

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.

Some months before I declared, I asked for a meeting and crossed the border to meet with the president of Mexico. I did not go with a plan. I went, as I said in my announcement address, to ask him his ideas -- how we could make the border something other than a locale for a nine-foot fence.

We urge the pro-immigration Republicans to denounce Donald Trump's take on immigration--not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it is political suicide for a major party in a nation shaped by immigration to be anti-immigration. Future of the Republican Party hangs in balance.

Please let us know your thoughts by writing to us at editor@ilw.com.

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Letters of the Week:

ComingsNGoings: Immigration Event
September 2nd, 9am-5pm (EST) - The Cato Institute will be hosting a seminar on Immigration Economics at the Hayek Auditorium in Washington, D.C. discussing labor and wages, entrepreneurship, etc. Learn more here


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