Reagan Would Not Repeat Amnesty Mistake

Former Attorney General Ed Meese informs us that his former boss, Ronald Reagan, would be opposed to any bill granting amnesty to illegal aliens who have been in the county for a number of years. This, despite Reagan having championed and signed just such a bill in 1986.

Oddly, Meese offers no evidence–or even a suggestion–that Reagan came to regret the bill. He can nonetheless intuit what Reagan Would Do:

He knew that secure borders are vital, and would now insist on meeting that priority first. He would seek to strengthen the enforcement of existing immigration laws. He would employ new tools—like biometric technology for identification, and cameras, sensors and satellites to monitor the border—that make enforcement and verification less onerous and more effective.

Now, it may well be that a healthy (and, you know, living) Ronald Reagan might indeed believe just that were he president today. Then again, he might not. To the extent we’re going to speculate on what the dead would have done, though, wouldn’t what they did while alive be the best clue?

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology, Uncategorized,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. This reminds me of Sirhan Sirhan saying at one of his parole hearings that Robert Kennedy would have wanted him to be paroled. The irony that the one person who might have wanted him to be paroled is the guy he shot was apparently not missed by the parole board which denied the parole request.

    I think both you and Meese are right. If Reagan were alive today, he would likely be on the pro-enforcement camp. And he certainly supported amnesty while in the administration. The reason I think he would be in the pro-enforcement camp is I think 9/11 would have affected him as much as it affected anyone and he would see defending the US against future attacks the right thing to do. Whether cutting down on illegal immigration would really help defend against future attacks is another question, but I suspect he would see it that way.

  2. So what does Edward Meese say Millard Filmore thinks about amnesty?

  3. Cernig says:

    Scene: A Gypsy Tent.

    Gypsy: Put your finger on the glass, Mr Meese. I have a Ronnie who wants to use the ouja board to communicate with you.

    Glass, spelling letters: I…D…I…O..

    Regards, C

  4. McGehee says:

    I think Meese is onto something here. I can also report that if Reagan were alive today, he’d want everyone in America to send me one dollar.

    And, of course, to pay the tax on that dollar for me.

  5. Fred says:

    Sure you dumb idiot; send 10 to 20 million illegals home. Then they take all the money they made here with them. Let’s calculate: 10 million times about $10,000 bucks is another $100 to $200 billion dollars that we need here going out of the country. Make them pay $3,000 and we make about 30 billion dollars and we make them taxpayers for years to come.
    You dumb a-holes just cannot do any math at all. Well, with this school system no surprise. American republican radicals are stupid and uneducated – just look at Bush.
    And I will take about $100,000 if I have to leave! I hope you get the idea. And I don’t pay off my debt here either – I think I leave it to you! Ha ha ha.
    Cannot wait to go back to Europe – sick of the idiots here, really.
    Building half a fence, you guys are stupid, stupid, stupid!

  6. Mark Masters says:

    I must say that I agree. Why send people home if they pay taxes and a fine?

  7. McGehee says:

    Cannot wait to go back to Europe

    If everyone in America sends me a dollar, I’ll pay for your ticket.