Republicans know they're on the far right edge of the fringe, hanging out in the chilly breeze, when they've lost James Dobson's Focus on the Family group. That's where Republican hard-liners on immigration such as Scott Beason, Robert Bentley and ... yes, Mitt Romney ... find themselves today.
Tom Minnery, the senior vice president of policy for one evangelical group, Focus on the Family, said many of the 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants should be free to “come out of the shadows” and “begin the process of restitution” leading to attaining legal residency.
Mr. Minnery spoke at a Capitol Hill news conference called to announce that more than 150 Christian evangelical leaders, including from the Southern Baptist Convention and the National Association of Evangelicals, were endorsing an overhaul of immigration policy.
The evangelical leaders expressed opposition to such notions as “self-deportation,” which Mr. Romney favored in a Republican debate and which urges strict enforcement of laws to encourage illegal immigrant workers to leave the country.
Laws like ours here in Alabama are intended to make life for undocumented immigrants so hellish -- racial profiling, questioning school kids, long lines, denial of water, power and sewer service, etc. -- that they will simply leave, thus saving the cost of deporting them. It's a cruel approach to the immigration problem, and as we have said time and again, UNCHRISTIAN.
And this is not an isolated incidence of conservatives trying to walk back the zenophobia. Former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had this to say at an immigration conference (several prominent right-wing speakers) in Atlanta earlier this week:
“This Republican party – and not to make this partisan – has done a terrible job talking about this issue in a way that’s very anti-Hispanic, and anti-immigrant, and I think that’s very, very unfortunate," he said. "And whether or not Gov. Romney can recover from that remains to be seen.”
It's about time groups like Focus on the Family and others who claim to support Christian values begin to voice opposition to these laws.
The remorse is political, too. With large hispanic populations in several swing states, Republican strategists are beginning to voice concern about their party's obsession with publicly beating up on brown people. Polls indicate the immigration hard-line hurts Romney's chances in several key states.
Mitt Romney's stance in favor of Arizona's immigration law makes Hispanic voters in the key swing states of Nevada, New Mexico and Florida less likely to vote for him, says a new poll from Project New America and Public Policy Polling.