During a debate in the 1980 presidential primaries, candidates George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan were asked a question about Mexican immigrants - and their answer might surprise you.
We've grown accustomed to the Trump campaign's rallying cry of "Build that wall!" However, the GOP of the 80s had a very different answer to the issue of undocumented immigrants in the United States. An audience member in Texas asked whether the candidates felt that the children of illegal aliens should be allowed to attend public schools for free or if their parents should have to pay for them.
"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 the problem wouldn't come up," said George Bush.
"Rather than talking about putting up a fence," Ronald Reagan said, "why don't we work out some recognition of our mutual problems, make it possible to come here legally?" adding that the border should be open both ways, with both Mexican and American citizens able to cross freely.
Check out this video, in which we can see how much the Republican party has changed in its attitude toward Mexico.
As a reminder of how far the GOP has fallen, see this debate between Bush & Reagan 35 years ago where they: •Demand… https://t.co/FC95qC5dGs— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@Qasim Rashid, Esq.)1558490989.0
The contrast between then and now is stark.
@QasimRashid What a difference— Amitp55 (@Amitp55)1558520179.0
@QasimRashid Wow, calling Latinx people good people deserving of respect seems almost far-left now— MACLUNKEY (@MACLUNKEY)1558493953.0
Reagan and Bush, both of whom would go on to serve as president in 1980 and 1989 (respectively), believed that good relations between the US and Mexico were vital to our country.
"These are good people, strong people," Bush said.
"I think that we haven’t been sensitive enough to our size and our power," Reagan said.
Contrast that with Trump's border wall hysteria and you can get an idea of how much the Republican party has changed.
@QasimRashid See, without demonizing illegal immigrants, he has no way to sow fear among his followers. Without dem… https://t.co/o99Pn0jLH5— Dirk 🤔 (@Dirk 🤔)1558500739.0
@QasimRashid They are now the party of hatred and bigotry— Sam Robinson (@Sam Robinson)1558534061.0
The video was shared this week by Qasim Rashid, Democratic state senate candidate in Virginia, and met with both nostalgia and disbelief on Twitter...which sort of embodies some feelings about the old Republican party versus the new.
@QasimRashid Today's Republican party would call Reagan and Bush "RINOs"— tutulemma (@tutulemma)1558523711.0
The video of the 1980 presidential debate has gone viral before, with the same reaction from people on Twitter: that this is the Republican party they remember.
FYI in 1980 Ronald Regan literally suggested open borders in a debate with George HW Bush. https://t.co/IJQdtHyWKX… https://t.co/sQyAMH4Yu0— Evan Conrad (@Evan Conrad)1536382995.0
Remember this Republican Party? This is from a Republican primary debate in 1980. Could we get this one back? https://t.co/CBqLuz4Eyn— Daniel Murphy (@Daniel Murphy)1529508148.0
The #Republican #Presidential nominee debate in 1980 on #illegalimmigration into the United States from Mexico. Wi… https://t.co/n7NBciBMsw— PJ (@PJ)1544006966.0
The difference between the GOP party line now and the one from the 1980s couldn't be more different.
In the 1980 Republican primary debate, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan faced off over illegal immigration, and… https://t.co/afYubxeeC1— Steve Piper (@Steve Piper)1543942265.0
@SilverPatriot1 @GavinNewsom Yea neo nazis , the republicans of old would've never supported changing the constitut… https://t.co/FixA3vueZn— Joel de leon (@Joel de leon)1540960120.0
@QasimRashid @gmrCPC Whoah— charlieboy (@charlieboy)1558496827.0
Twitter user charlieboy said it best: Whoa.