A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 29, 2011
“A nation that cannot control its borders can’t control its destiny”

President Ronald Reagan is often credited for having said at some time in the 1980s, “A nation that cannot control its borders isn’t really a nation.” Other versions phrase this as “A nation/country that cannot control its borders can’t control its destiny/future” or “A nation/country that cannot control its borders is no longer sovereign.”

The several forms of the phrase have been popular since at least the 1980s.


Google News Archive
19 May 1983, Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review, “Bill outlaws hiring illegal aliens” (New York Times), pg. 3, col. 2:
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Alan K. Simpson, R-Wyo., is designed to curtail unlawful immigration by denying jobs to illegal aliens, which is presumed to be their main reason for coming to the United States. The bill now goes to the House, where similar legislation is awaiting a floor vote.

Simpson said the legislation was needed because “the first duty of a sovereign nation is to control its borders, and we don’t.”

Google News Archive
11 June 1984, Fredericksburg (VA) Free Lance-Star, “Illegal immigration tough chore for Congress” by Mike Feinsilber (Associated Press Writer), pg. 6, col. 1:
A country that can’t control its borders lacks sovereignty.

Google News Archive
18 September 1986, Gadsden (AL) Times, “Put a stop to illegal immigration” by Jeffrey Hart, pg. A4, col. 5:
Philosophically, a nation that cannot police its borders is scarcely a nation at all. it has lost control of its own sovereignty. it is saying that the nature of its domestic society is a matter of whim, subject to the control of hordes of strangers. A nation operating on those principles, if they deserve the name of principles, will not long survive as a nation, and doesn’t deserve to.

23 June 1987, Logansport (IN) Pharos-Tribune, “Our Debt: A fine legacy for our children” by Charley Reese, pg. 4, col. 4:
A nation that cannot control its borders, its city streets, its budget, or its school classrooms certainly can’t control its destiny.

Google News Archive
26 January 1989, Lewiston (ME) Daily Sun, pg. 10, col. 3:
“No country is a country that can’t protect its border,” said Keating, who oversaw law enforcement agencies in the justice Department, including the Border patrol. “This is one of many systems to do it.”

Google Books
A Republic, Not an Empire:
Reclaiming America’s destiny
By Patrick J Buchanan
Washington, DC: Regnery Pub.
1999
Pg. 373:
As Ronald Reagan said, a country that cannot control its borders isn’t really a country anymore.

Google News Archive
27 July 2001, Reading (PA) Eagle, “Bush right on amnesty” by Bill Press, pg. B6, col. 2:
And former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan came out of hiding to tell CNN: “What they’re talking about is an amnesty for law-breakers, people who have broken the law, broken in line, broken into our country in the millions....It gets down to the point: What is a country anymore? Ronald Reagan said that a nation that cannot control its borders isn’t really a nation.”

Canada Free Press
Republicans had their chance and blew it
By Michael M. Bates
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
(...)
A nation that can’t control its borders can’t control its future, yet it appears as though a significant number of Republicans are so fearful of losing Hispanic voters that they’ll stand by and do nothing.

Google Books
State of Emergency:
The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America

By Patrick J. Buchanan
New York, NY: Griffin
2007
Pg. ?:
But America has lost control of her borders and, as Ronald Reagan said, a country that can’t control its borders isn’t really a country anymore.

CNN.com—Transcripts
THE SITUATION ROOM
Iowa Caucus Results; Examining Results vs. Expectations
Aired January 4, 2008 - 17:00 ET
(...)
FRED THOMPSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, you’ve given me a broad topic, there, but let me try my hand because I think that the Republic standard-bearer needs to be a conservative who has national security credentials. And I think I am that man. I think illegal immigration clearly is important. A nation that can’t defend its borders will not remain a sovereign nation.

Google Books
The Constitution Failed:
Dispatches from the history of the future

By Robert R. Owens
Xulon Press
2010
Pg. 159:
Ronald Reagan among others have shared such obvious wisdom as, “A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Friday, April 29, 2011 • Permalink