Why the GOP’s efforts to win Hispanic voters is at odds with the racist right-wingers who are the heart of the Republican Party
Charlie Savage, of the Boston Globe, writes about the efforts made by Hispanic evangelicals to reverse anti-immigrant legislation.
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr., president of a group he says represents 15 million Hispanic evangelical Christians, said his fellow social conservatives are making a historic mistake. By spurning proposals to give illegal immigrants a shot at citizenship instead of deportation, they are making it easier for supporters of abortion and same-sex marriage to win elections.
‘’This is a watershed moment for the Republican Party,” said Rodriguez, digging into a steak at an American flag-festooned restaurant near the US Capitol, where he had been lobbying GOP leaders last week. ‘’Hispanics are social conservatives. Their votes can determine the next 25 years of national elections. But all that is in jeopardy, based on what is happening.”
What is happening is that the GOP-led Congress is on the verge of making sweeping changes in border-security laws this year that could shape political alliances in the Southwest for decades.
Republicans are split over what to do with the millions of undocumented immigrants already inside the United States.
Some support intensifying efforts to deport them all. Others, including President Bush and Senator John McCain of Arizona, favor letting them stay as legalized guest workers if they come forward and pay a fine and back taxes.
Rodriguez, chief executive officer of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and a handful of other religious activists said they hope Congress will adopt a version that allows undocumented immigrants to stay in the country with a shot at becoming citizens.
They contend that taking an immigrant-friendly approach could help social conservatives win the culture wars for decades to come.
The numbers help make Rodriguez’s case: Of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, about 80 percent are from Latin America. And, according to a 2002 Pew Hispanic Center poll, 77 percent of foreign-born Latinos believe that abortion is unacceptable, and 73 percent reject homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.
But Rodriguez has not gotten far with his contention that social conservatives who advocate deportation are being short-sighted. The House of Representatives has passed a bill calling for stepped up deportation efforts. Many conservative lawmakers in the House balked at giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, saying that would reward lawbreakers.
Last week, the Senate began work on its own immigration bill. Several lawmakers have filed versions that would allow the undocumented to stay legally as guest workers, but some lawmakers most opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage are urging their colleagues to focus only on deportation.
Somehow I don’t think it’s going to work. Here’s what Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-CO, says in reaction to mainstream Christian activists who support helping immigrants become citizens :
‘’The faith community must step forward and tell left-leaning activists that undermining border security is not a religious imperative,” he said.
And this is why the long-term GOP project is going to fail: Christian nationalists have more in common with atheist racists than with Christian immigrants. And it isn’t Christ that they share. The whole article is a must read, and page 2 reminds us that Christians are biblically called to care for immigrants, along with the weak, sick, and suffering.