CONSERVATIVES FOR COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM
Immigration Reform: Advocating for Conservative Solutions
When we formed the Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform coalition almost two years ago, we did so with an eye toward bringing our conservative brethren back to the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” negotiating table. As conservatives, we knew that we had quiet support among many people in the conservative ranks that recognized that solving our nation’s immigration crisis was an urgent, yet difficult task. However, it is important to note that our coalition’s involvement in this issue was NOT to simply put a “conservative” stamp on any of the prior legislative attempts to solve this problem. Our motivation was not only to solve this problem, it was to solve this problem in a new way, that conservatives in the country could find themselves supporting as common sense, and value added solutions to this complex issue.
The new ideas that have been floated by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich have a decidedly conservative slant imbedded into them. While we are not endorsing any candidate for President, and are not even endorsing the Speaker’s new ideas, per se, we are supporting the concept that he is speaking about conservative principals, and how those principals can be woven into a fresh, new approach toward finding bi-partisan solutions to our immigration crisis.
I would like to quote Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and a member of CfCIR, who stated, "The answer is to reconcile Leviticus 19 with Romans 13, compassion with the rule of law. The answer is a 'Just Integration' solution that stops all illegal immigration, prohibits amnesty, and deports those engaged in nefarious activities while facilitating an integration and legalization process for self-sustaining hard working individuals. The anti-immigration rhetoric needs to end and we call upon the Church and the Federal government to stand with a heart of righteousness and justice in approaching this.”
We note that Speaker Gingrich embraced an approach that advocates bringing long-standing, “self-sustaining hard working individuals” into a state of legality, while expressly not advocating a pathway to citizenship for these individuals. This approach can form the basis of a new, middle ground, bi-partisan solution toward reconciling a non-amnesty, pro-immigrant approach within the boundaries of our “rule of law” society. We would further note that this “legal status,” non pathway to citizenship approach is something that many conservatives have quietly been discussing for quite some time.
In fact, just a couple of months ago, at a National Immigration Summit sponsored by the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference in Tucson, Arizona, this type of solution was expressly discussed and voted on, in terms of a possible way to resolve the stalemate on the Federal DREAM Act. We discussed with the audience of some 900 people the possibility of passing a revised DREAM Act, which would include a pathway to legal status, but not a pathway to citizenship. We put it to a vote, and asked the audience to raise their hands if they were against such legislation. Only 10 people, or roughly 1% of the audience, opposed this approach. This eye opening expression of the desperation felt in this country to find middle ground solutions that would solve this pressing problem was a defining moment in the advocacy for conservative solutions.
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and a CfCIR member, penned a letter to Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, who are the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security. Dr. Land wrote that his commission could support the DREAM Act, with conditions. One condition would be making sure the bill does not allow young adults who gain legal status to help their relatives gain legal status or enter the country. He called such a measure "back-door amnesty." In explaining the commission's position to the subcommittee, Land wrote: "The children of undocumented immigrants who were brought here by their parents should not be forced to bear the full penalty of their presence in the nation illegally. To consign them to lives often-times bordering on poverty levels for actions in which they had no part is too severe a penalty." We should note that by changing the DREAM Act to a pathway to legal status, but not citizenship, the Southern Baptist position would be in line with the conservative policy advocated by Speaker Gingrich.
Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform believes that this murky issue gains clarity when eyed through the matrix of the traditional “three legged stool” of conservatism. When this issue is examined within the framework of our nation’s fiscal conservative, social conservative and national security conservative value structure, a common sense pathway forward emerges as straightforward and exceptional. In seeking a solution to this crisis, the values based three legged stool of conservatism is served through a measured comprehensive approach that serves the interests of America first. CfCIR believes in traditional American values, and urges all Americans to look to their values first to solve this crisis. If our government is willing to apply traditional conservative principals toward a comprehensive immigration solution, it will find willing, open minded partners on both sides of the political aisle.
Dr. Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel, Dean of Liberty University School of Law, and CfCIR member stated recently, “Comprehensive immigration reform should be a high priority for our political leaders. By not addressing immigration reform and not moving past the political gridlock, we are not addressing the heart and spirit of America. It is against the soul of American and its founding principles to use inflammatory rhetoric that excites people but also stigmatizes and alienates immigrants and does not address or solve the immigration issue. We must secure our border, enforce our laws and reform our immigration process so that we have a workable immigration system.”