Illegal aliens had been coming since World War II. But, suddenly, the number was over 1 million. Crime was rising in Texas. The illegals were taking the jobs of U.S. farm workers.
Under Gen. Joseph May Swing, the Immigration and Naturalization Service launched "Operation Wetback" and began rounding up and deporting Mexican border-crossers by ship and bus. By the end of Ike's second term, illegal entries had fallen by 90 percent.
Eisenhower, who had tapped his nuclear hole card twice -- first, to force the Chinese to agree to a truce in Korea, then to halt their shelling of the offshore islands in 1958 -- was a no-nonsense president.
Measured by population and gross national product, Eisenhower's America was but half the size of today's America. Yet, in the 1950s, we were in many ways a stronger and more self-confident country.
We had universal military service, and few complained. As for the deportation of the Mexicans, they had broken in, they did not belong here, and they were going back. End of discussion.
Contrast the rigorous response of Ike's America to an invasion across our southern border to the hand-wringing moral paralysis of our political elite in dealing with 11-12 million illegal aliens in our midst.
We are to stop using terms like illegal aliens, we are told. For it shows insensitivity. And compassion commands that we bring these folks "out of the shadows" and "put them on a path to citizenship."
One understands Democrats' motives in pushing this amnesty. Perhaps nine of 10 illegals are from Third World countries, and folks of Asian, African and Hispanic descent voted 4-to-1 Democratic in 2012.
Sen. Chuck Schumer and Democrats are writing an immigration bill that will create millions of new citizens who will vote to bury the Party of Ronald Reagan forever.
But why are Republicans collaborating in erecting the scaffolding on which their party is to be hanged?
A year ago, the GOP platform declared, "We oppose amnesty because it would have the effect of encouraging illegal immigration and would give an unfair advantage to those who have broken our laws."
What has changed since then?
Yet, today, with Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio providing cover -- a "very positive force," purrs President Obama -- Republicans are about to trash their platform and vote an amnesty for 11-12 million illegals. Why?