“The Big Lie: Ronald Reagan & Immigration Reform”
When the legend makes you look better than facts, use the legend – that, more or less, is a movie line that applies to politics especially when ideological fanatics need ammunition to fight unfair because they don’t have the facts. Exaggeration becomes THE BIG LIE.
The Big Lie by Heritage Action (Foundation) activist Joseph Wade Miller: “(RONALD) REAGAN REGRETTED HIS 1986 AMNESTY ACCORDING TO HIS ATTORNEY GENERAL (ED MEESE).” Posted on Face Book, January 26, 2014…It has been repeated on the campaign trail by rising Republican Star, Congressman Tom Cotton of Arkansas who is favored to win his U.S. Senate campaign in November.
Now that Speaker John Boehner’s House Republican Conference appears that it is moving towards bi-partisan immigration reform, critics of immigration reform will unleash their opposition vehemently with a barrage of lies that haven’t been experienced since they slung the same lies at George W. Bush’s proposed immigration reform efforts almost ten years ago and before that when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was before the Congress. The commonly decried denominator was Hispanics as it is with immigration.
Is Heritage (Foundation) Action activist Joseph Wade Miller’s assertion, repeated as it is by Congressman Cotton, correct, is it true, is it a myth or a BIG LIE?
Can Miller or Cotton produce a scintilla of evidence by audio, video or personal letter that President Reagan ever renounced or regretted signing the 1986 Immigration Reform Control Act (IRCA)? For that matter can anyone produce an audio, video or personally written letter by former Attorney General Ed Meese that he has ever said the Reagan regretted the 1986 Act’s amnesty?
As for President Reagan, there is absolutely no proof he regretted the 1986 immigration act that included a true amnesty. There is no audio, video or personal letter that is proof he regretted his signing that law, none.
As for Meese:
1. He wrote in a New York Times 2006 Opinion piece that “President Reagan considered it reasonable to adjust the status of what was then a relatively small population… (Reagan) called it what it was: amnesty.” Agreed, it was “amnesty” as it had no conditions like current proposals do.
2. At the Heritage Foundation itself in 2007 Meese made these statements – the lesson of 1986 amnesty is that it did not work, but he did not say that Reagan regretted the law he signed. Because Reagan usually learned from mistakes, Meese stated flatly that he thought Reagan would follow a “different tack” than he did in 1986.
In 2012, however, Michael Reagan, President Reagan’s oldest son, well-known commentator and Fox News Contributor declared that President Reagan would have supported the posits of Newt Gingrich in the Presidential campaign that we would not want to split families and punish law-abiding people who had been here for many years.
Question: Who knew
President Reagan best?
Meese was careful in the 2007 Heritage interview to say: Reagan always learned from those things that didn’t go the way he expected, so I’m sure that he would appreciate the fact that amnesty (in Meese’s opinion) didn’t work.” As David Bier wrote in the conservative Daily Caller “That certainly doesn’t sound like someone who is claiming to know that Reagan had a change of heart.” Agreed; however, some die-hards simply can’t accept the facts and continue to promulgate THE BIG LIE.
It seems to these precincts that prominent candidates like Arkansas’ congressman and Senate candidate should rethink his position and drop the reference, the false reference to something that has no factual basis. The Lie apparently originated in a Washington Times Op-Ed piece in June, 2012 by Peter Parisi who claims he read it somewhere but couldn’t specify where and when. The same words used by Cotton appeared in a South Carolina publication named the Times Examiner in a piece by a Michael Scruggs who couldn’t remember what his source was.
It also is quite apparent that the supporters of this particular BIG LIE should be exposed for what they are — dissemblers of truth, con men/women beyond the pale and, lastly, liars who use the late great President Ronald Reagan for their own nefarious needs and debate points.
*Ronald Reagan during a 1984 presidential debate: “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here even though sometimes back they may have entered illegally.”
*Ronald Reagan when he signed the 1986 IRCA: “We have consistently supported a legalization program.”
*Ronald Reagan on amnesty: “Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight.”
Let us put to death the myth and BIG LIE with a direct quote from former Attorney General Edwin Meese who was contacted for a comment on the subject that was published in the conservative Daily Caller July 16, 2013:
Meese – I “…never heard Reagan say it was his biggest mistake (or any mistake) and he’s (Meese) NEVER claimed to have heard that.”
The BIG LIE dies here.