Why Did President Ronald Reagan Support Amnesty Laws?

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Monday, November 5, 2018 - 12:14pm
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President Ronald Reagan.

When it comes to immigration reform, the word "amnesty" probably couldn’t have more negative connotations.

For people vehement about border security, amnesty is seen as a way of rewarding undocumented immigrants. Others believe amnesty could have negative economic consequences for the U.S. If all of that is true, then why did former President Ronald Reagan — a conservative icon —  believe it was a good idea when he signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986?

Joe Mathews, former Los Angeles Times reporter and currently California editor and columnist for Zocalo Public Square, recently researched the Reagan amnesty law and drew some of his own conclusions.

The Show spoke with Mathews and asked him to take us back 30 years or so to explain what President Reagan trying to do about undocumented immigration at the time.

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