Social conservatives align with evangelicals against their fellow Republican hard liners in approach to immigration.
Many evangelical ministers are voicing the need to have immigration reform provide for a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented people in America. This view appeals to the socially conservative Republicans who realize that they need the labor. This does not satisfy the hard right conservatives who argue that undocumented immigrants broke the law and should be deported prior to being given any chance to reenter the country.
“It may split the old conservative coalition. It’s not going to split the new one,” said Richard Land, a Houston native who is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “If the conservative coalition is going to be a governing coalition, it’s going to have to include an awful lot of Hispanics, and you’re not going to bring an awful lot of Hispanics into your coalition with anti-Hispanic immigration rhetoric,” Land said.
The right in Texas has historically been defined as the Baptists, Methodists, and the Episcopalians. Immigration is shaping up to be a real challenge for the churches to satisfy their far right members while promoting immigration reform that is fair and compassionate.