In an NPR interview the policy director of the Southern Baptist Convention, Richard Land, urged fellow Republicans to consider a path to citizenship when thinking about immigration reform. In speaking, Land’s represents one of the most influential and leading evangelical organizations in the country.
He and a small group of other Republicans, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Karl Rove, see the need for Hispanics in the Republican party and engaged in the U.S. electoral process; fearing that won’t happen with such “anti-Hispanic immigration rhetoric” coming from the party. Some other middle-of-the-road Republicans also support immigration reform with some form of legalization but not citizenship.
Land does recognize that some in the party only see political advantage in supporting legislation like Arizona’s SB 1070 and views them as being short-sighted. He reflects on the wave of immigrates that were not initially received by the Republican party, namely the Irish and Italians that have remained stalwart Democrats for three generations – he fears the same will happen with the Hispanic community.
All sectors of the Republican party are unified in mandating that border security be the first step to any immigration reform process.