Former US President Ronald Reagan remains one of the most celebrated Conservative leaders in larger public memory. Yet, Democrats have something to learn from one of Reagan’s biggest mistakes. We are talking about the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 – a legislation that would turn the then-Republican stronghold of California into a blue state. Now, Joe Biden would want to learn from Reagan’s mistake and do to Texas, what Ronald Reagan had unwittingly done to California.
Ronald Reagan, a Hollywood-star turned politician, stood for tighter border scrutiny as the US President like any other Conservative. The 1986 legislation which was passed during his tenure was also supposed to tighten security at the Mexican border. But it also ended up legalising most undocumented immigrants who had arrived in the United States of America prior to January 1, 1982.
Ronald referred to the provision of legalising undocumented immigrants as “amnesty” and allowed as many as three million immigrants to secure legal status after paying $185, demonstrating “good moral character” and learning to speak English. With this single decision, Ronald Reagan ensured that Presidents like him do not come up again.
In fact, the Immigration Act of 1986 was such a mistake that it brought an overwhelming change in the demographics of California. When the legislation was passed California used to be full of pro-Republican voters. Reagan himself was an ex-Governor of California. Yet, the Democrats managed to cash in on the undocumented immigrants who attained US citizenship and the right to exercise franchise courtesy of the 1986 Act.
Californian politics started changing almost immediately after the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 came into effect. The shift became visible in the 1990s and the state turned into a Democratic stronghold by the early 2000s. Today, it has become a blue state. Sooner than later, Republicans would have realised that what Ronald Reagan had done by allowing undocumented immigrants was actually very uncharacteristic of a Conservative President and the move actually bordered on leftist politics.
As for Joe Biden, there is a very strong precedent behind Ronald’s 1986 move. Today, there is a major crisis at the Mexican border only because of Biden’s ambition to flood the USA with illegal immigrants and carve out a new voter base for himself.
Biden wants to use people who do not respect the American law and who cross over into American territory illegally for electoral gains. He wants to legalise as many as 11 million illegal immigrants. At the end of the day, it is all about numbers and votes. Biden knows that if he confers citizenship upon millions of illegal immigrants and legitimises their unlawful entry into American territory, then he might end up carving a vote bank for himself.
Allowing illegal immigrants to acquire American citizenship and the right to vote in American polls actually erodes the value of votes cast by those American citizens who were actually born in the US or who lawfully migrated into the US, stayed there for a considerable period of time and then became lawful US citizens.
It is quite ironic that a Conservative like Ronald Reagan offered justification for Biden’s push to legitimise illegal immigrants. Biden might as well say, ‘if Reagan did it, why can’t I do it?’ California turned blue courtesy of Reagan’s mistake. But Reagan’s mistake is Biden’s learning. Democrats understand that allowing illegal immigrants is an easy way out when it comes to reducing Republican strongholds into Democrat bastions.