Although President Donald Trump is expected to remove protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents as children this week, there was a time when the GOP didn’t hold such draconian views on immigration.
A conservative Twitter user who goes by the name @ComfortablySmug reacted with disgust to Trump’s reported decision to end former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program this week — and he posted a video of GOP icons Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush debating in 1980 over which of them would be more compassionate to the children of undocumented immigrants.
VIDEO: George HW Bush and Ronald Reagan in 1980 debate fighting over who would be more compassionate to children of undocumented immigrants pic.twitter.com/KXBwRRA4Ee
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) September 4, 2017
In the video, Reagan and Bush — who were running as rivals to be the Republican nominee for president in 1980 — were asked whether they would allow the children of undocumented immigrants to attend public schools in Texas.
Bush responded that any solution to the problem of illegal immigration should be handled with great “sensitivity” to the needs of both immigrants and American citizens.
“I’d like to see something done about the illegal alien problem that would be so sensitive, and so understanding about labor needs, and human needs, that that problem wouldn’t come up,” he said. “I don’t want to see… six- and eight-year-old kids, being made, you know, one, totally uneducated, and being made to feel that they’re living outside the law. Let’s address ourselves to the fundamentals. These are good people, strong people.”
The audience then gave Bush enthusiastic applause.
Reagan, who at the time was running as the arch-conservative in the race, made similar points — and specifically came out against the idea of a border wall.
“Rather than making them or talking about putting up a fence, why don’t we work out some recognition of our mutual problems, make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit, and then while they’re working and earning here, they pay taxes here,” he said.