“Smarter than Reagan?” Probably not. Reagan wanted more immigration

Yesterday, Heritage held a conference call about immigration. The theme was the same old same old. But one of the lines that jumped out at me (and Matt Lewis) was that:

Jon Kyl thinks he is smarter than Reagan

They hit this theme a bunch of different ways. Again, like so many conservatives who neither understand Reagan nor his context, they got it wrong. Ilya Somin has the details. Read the whole thing, but here’s a taste:

As Reagan biographer Lou Cannon points out in this book (pg. 119), Reagan proposed a treaty allowing for full freedom of movement for all workers throughout North America in his November 1979 speech announcing his candidacy for the presidency. As early as 1952 – at a time when US immigration policy was still governed by the highly restrictive Immigration Act of 1924Reagan gave a speech embracing nearly unlimited immigration:


Almost forty years later, in his January 1989 farewell message to the nation, Reagan struck a similar theme:

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. (emphasis added)