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 undocumented immigrants get access to education & jobs
•Promote Open borders
•Affirm Latinos as honorable people & neighborspic.twitter.com/NvXz8CZfmv
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) May 22, 2019
The contrast between then and now is stark.
What a difference
— Amitp55 (@Amitp55) May 22, 2019
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.
They are now the party of hatred and bigotry
— Sam Robinson (@SamRob41) May 22, 2019
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.
Today's Republican party would call Reagan and Bush "RINOs"
— tutulemma (@tutulemma) May 22, 2019
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 This is what the Republican party used to be.
— Evan Conrad (@flaqueEau) September 8, 2018
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 (@obscuranta) June 20, 2018
It would be good for all the Trump fanatics and he himself was to review what… https://t.co/wqyEr85Kxk
— PJ (@DublinPJ) December 5, 2018
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 both of them sounded like today's progressive Democrats, especially Reagan calling for an open border with Mexico.https://t.co/JtBRN4EORa
— Steve Piper (@St3v3Piper) December 4, 2018
Yea neo nazis , the republicans of old would've never supported changing the constitution and were true Christians , I was in the republican primary debate in 1980. Bush sr. Vs Ronald Reagan , I went suporting Reagan. They nailed the illegal immigration problem perfectly.
— Joel de leon (@Johncas48323147) October 31, 2018
— charlieboy (@charlieboy_ron) May 22, 2019
Twitter user charlieboy said it best: Whoa.