Earlier this week some of the nation’s most influential evangelical groups pushed for solutions to undocumented immigration that challenges the current rhetoric of the Republican party.
Lead by Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, the group called on a reversal of the policy of “self-deportation” which Mitt Romney and the Republican leadership supports. “Self-deportation” may sound ridiculous, but it is the name for the climate created by harsh immigration laws like those in Alabama and Arizona. The goal of that legislation is to make living conditions so intolerable to immigrant workers that they simply leave the country.
As evangelical ranks swell with Hispanic members, and as the christian right comes under additional scrutiny for specifically non-christian behavior, violent actions and rhetoric targeting the lgbt community and women, the church leaders are doing what they must to remain relevant and viable in the conservative movement.
“This is the tipping point to finally convince Republican operatives that they must redeem the narrative on immigration reform in order to be a viable party in America’s political landscape in the 21st century,” said the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
So far there is no indication the Republican leadership is interested in moderating its anti-immigrant stance. Mr. Romney’s strategists argue that he need not change his positions because Latino voters will cast ballots in November based on the economy, not immigration.
“Governor Romney believes that legal immigration is a source of strength for America and that to protect legal immigration we must address illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner,” said Alberto Martinez, an adviser to Mr. Romney in Florida.
This leaves Romney all alone on immigration reform after the Obama administration announced it would halt deportation of DREAMers today. The decision drew wide praise from all political sectors except the racist corners of the hard right.
Photo from tschloss via flickr.