Once upon a time…
From: Joseph Nevins, “Pat Nixon at the US-Mexican Border” Common Dreams, 22 August 2008
Mrs. Nixon was in Imperial Beach, Calif. on Aug. 18, 1971 to inaugurate a state park. A 370-acre, former naval base at the extreme southwest corner of the continental United States, it is the site of the initial international borderline after the U.S.-Mexico War ended in 1848. The park’s planners, according to the San Diego Union, envisioned free access to it for people on both sides of the boundary.
In her speech, the First Lady promised to cross the boundary to shake hands with some of the hundreds of Mexican nationals witnessing her visit. As reported in the Los Angeles Times, she declared, “I hate to see a fence anywhere.”
After a member of her security detail cut a section of the then barbed-wire barrier, she traversed the divide and embraced Mexican children, stating, “I hope there won’t be a fence here too long.”
There were no criticisms of Pat Nixon’s statements and actions-at least as indicated by press coverage.