Would Ronald Reagan enact an open borders policy if he were President today as a means of filling needed employees because of an aging workforce? Would he again sign legislation for amnesty for Illegal aliens given how poorly that worked out for him the first time? These questions and even more arise from a controversial article in the Oregon Catalyst that advocates for more immigration, legal and illegal and that Reagan would approve.
Reagan regretted his amnesty and the failure of establishing real border security according to Ed Rollins, his long time political advisor, though Reagan's son Michael says he didn't regret the amnesty, but that congress didn't follow through on their part of establishing true border security. Either way it is hard to imagine with the spectacularly obvious failure of our current open borders situation that Reagan would make the same mistake twice.
The article fails to recognize the very real negative impacts of excessive legal and illegal immigration as articulated by KMED radio talk host Bill Meyer in his comments later in the article. Additionally, the cultural damage done to the country (not to mention the costs to taxpayers at all levels of government) has been profound and has not gone unnoticed by voters in Oregon who rejected illegal alien drivers licenses by 67%.
Now we have Governor Kate Brown protecting criminal illegals who commit sex crimes our wives, daughters, mothers (half of incarcerated foreign nationals in Oregon are there because of sex crime convictions) with her executive order and law forbidding any government entity from sharing information with the Feds. If Reagan saw the results of these policies it is hard to imagine that he would be to open borders or sign any new amnesty until the border was truly secured.
The article also fails to acknowledge two other impactful realities of an aging workforce. First, many millions of skilled, discouraged workers who dropped out of the workforce are being enticed back into it because of the booming economy and higher wages/benefits thereby partially filling the worker shortage need according to the falling U6 numbers from BLS. Secondly, the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence is filling the need in ever greater ways, especially with unskilled labor needs as industries adapt to an aging workforce and greater government regulation.
Reagan mistakenly believed that his amnesty and the penalties for employers to employ illegal aliens would stop illegal immigration and unfortunately history has proven him to be wrong. Cheap labor K-street lobbyists and successive willing Congresses found ways to not secure the border and to get around the employer penalties making a mockery of what Reagan believed would happen.
The globalists who took over the Republican party over the last many years don't hold Reagan's limited government philosophy as evidenced by their actions. Ironically, it's our opinion that Trump's return to America first is much closer to Reagan's vision for America than the author of this errant article recognizes.