Reagan And Bush Senior On Illegal Education, 1980—Reagan Wrong, Bush Senior REALLY Wrong

This was a tweet from Ben Domenech a few days ago:

This HW Bush and Reagan debate and answer on the children of illegal immigrants getting education is stunning. http://t.co/It9lEtdk

Ben Domenech is an NRO conservative of Puerto Rican ancestry, although raised in Mississippi. This is a video clip of a League Of Women Voters primary debate, April 23, 1980.

The short version is that Reagan turned out to be wrong, but when you consider Mexican conditions at that time, and the fact that the Cold War was still on, his attitude is statesmanlike.

George H. W. Bush's answer is all about "labor" as in "employers of cheap...".

I was hoping the League of Women Voters would have a transcript on their site, or the Reagan Library, but it turns out that the Treason Lobby is there ahead of me. The transcript of this debate has been posted online by the WSJ, and by two bozos.Two Republican bozos.

Anyhow, here's Reagan:

"I think the time has come that the United States and our neighbors, particularly our neighbor to the south, should have a better understanding and a better relationship than we’ve ever had. And I think that we haven’t been sensitive enough to our size and our power. They have a problem of 40 to 50 percent unemployment. Now this cannot continue without the possibility arising with regard to that other country that we talked about—Cuba—and what it is stirring up: the possibility of trouble below the border, and we could have a very hostile and strange neighbor on our border."

The reference to 40 to 50 percent unemployment refers to Mexico's self-inflicted financial crisis. A Communist Mexico would have been very bad, because it would be a Soviet base right on the US border.

Bush Senior is saying this (these are actual quotes, I'm just rendering them in Bush "stream of consciousness" form)

And of course, what started this was the question, asked by a voter  "Do you think the children of illegal aliens should be allowed to attend Texas public schools for free, or do you think that their parents should pay for their education?"

First, they're not "children of illegals" they're "illegal children." That is, they're young citizens of Mexico, not the US-born "citzen children" of illegals.

Second, the reason this was being asked was that Texas was trying to do it--to stop illegal aliens stealing a free education for their children from the Texas taxpayer. In 1975, Texas passed a Alien Children Education (ACE) which withheld state funds for the education of illegals, and allowed school districts to refuse to enroll them.

The Supreme Court ruled in Plyler v Doe,  1982 that illegal schoolchildren couldn't be discriminated against, which is just one more way in which the world of 2011 is completely different from 1980.