Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, a self-described “Reagan Republican” who currently serves as the head of the American Bankers Association, called for open borders immigration policies in America, saying such policies would be “conservative.”
Keating made the call in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, in which he argued that Ronald Reagan would support open borders too.
“Unfortunately, too many conservatives — though they aspire to walk in Reagan’s footsteps — have forgotten that immigration reform is the most Republican of causes,” Keating wrote. “We cannot support open borders for trade but not for people. We cannot support the unfettered exchange of goods and ideas while building razor-wired walls that separate children from their parents. We cannot make America stronger and more prosperous by excluding tomorrow’s talent and industry.”
Keating’s op-ed was titled “What would Reagan do?” In it, he notes that he was a senior Reagan administration official when amnesty was last granted under the Reagan administration.
“From my perspective as a Reagan Republican — indeed, as a senior official in the Reagan administration during the last major immigration reform process — I am convinced that we stand on the precipice of opportunity,” Keating wrote. “In numbers that we haven’t seen since the early 20th century, immigrants have been coming here to work and to build a better future for their families.”
“Just as immigrants helped fuel the engine of America’s emerging industrial economy 100 years ago, today they are filling two critical job gaps: high-skilled professions in science, technology and advanced manufacturing, and low-skill service and industrial jobs in fast-growing regions,” he said. “We need immigrants of all skill levels to help build the 21st century economy.”
Reagan did grant an amnesty in 1986–that gave citizenship to 3 million illegal immigrants at the time. Reagan later, according to his Attorney General Ed Meese, expressed regret for his decision. Keating conveniently leaves out Reagan’s later regrets from his op-ed.
Keating falsely claims that the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill “protects the rule of law by securing the border and ensuring that only law-abiding immigrants receive legal status.” As Breitbart News has reported time and again, the Senate bill does not actually ensure border security or effective interior enforcement measures–it just promises them, like Reagan’s amnesty in 1986 did. Border security and interior enforcement never came then either.