Ron Reagan, son of former president Ronald Reagan, excoriated Mitt Romney and the modern Republican Party for their position on immigration. On Tuesday's Hardball, he said that Romney "was more specific during the primaries. He was for self-deportation: he was for making it so miserable for immigrants in this country that they would simply leave the country."
But the way Reagan put it, the problem is larger than Romney alone. Reagan suggested that the entire GOP is being purposely vague regarding immigration, and particularly regarding Obama's recent executive order aimed at sharply reducing deportations.
"If you knew what they were really all about, nobody would vote for them," Reagan said. "The Republican Party uses immigration as a wedge issue, for instance; but they know full well that if they were to actually deport all 12 million or so illegal immigrants in this country, that various industries like agriculture would simply collapse."
Despite his iconic status as a conservative stalwart, President Reagan's 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act made amnesty possible for three million illegal immigrants. Said former speechwriter Peter Robinson: "It was in Ronald Reagan's bones — it was part of his understanding of America — that the country was fundamentally open to those who wanted to join us here."