Shortly before Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president, I wrote a column suggesting we call off the inauguration — because the president-elect’s brother, Neil, had just disclosed that their Irish grandfather, Michael, had snuck into America.
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“He was probably one of the early wetbacks, except that he came in from Canada instead of Mexico,” Neil told The Los Angeles Times.
What kind of signal, I asked, would we be sending if we swore in Reagan as president?
We’d be saying that no matter how you got into America, if you could find a wife and raise a family, you could become the grandfather to a president.
It was a humor column, supporting the radical, pro-immigration sentiments enshrined in the Statue of Liberty.