Obama immigration action may split evangelical coalition

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Hundreds of faith leaders and activists, including Crystal Silva-McCormick, of El Paso, Texas, participated in an immigration protest in front of the White House on July 31, 2014.

RNS photo by Heather Adams

Hundreds of faith leaders and activists, including Crystal Silva-McCormick, of El Paso, Texas, participated in an immigration protest in front of the White House on July 31, 2014.

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MIAMI (RNS) Some Christian leaders are disappointed to see how quickly others are running away from immigration in the wake of Obama's decision.

  • Larry

    The SBC felt that being in the pocket of the Republican party was more important than their previously declared objectives and ideals. Typical nonsense.

    Obama simply repeated the same Bible passages the SBC used in 2011 when it supported immigration reform. Obama even adopted many of the measures the SBC were calling for in their resolution.

    Typically religious appeals to immigration reform fail with conservatives. Conservative politics is far too invested in demonizing an “other” and appeals to fear, ignorance and bigotry usually find a more “viral” attraction than appeals to humanity.

  • Why would Obama care if there is disarray among evangelical lobbies? Keeping them at the top of their game is not his job.

    Then there’s the question of why evangelical lobbies are intervening in this issue at all. It’s the business of congregations to provide social services. It’s difficult to say what sort of signature contribution they might make to discussion of immigration law and enforcement (and Moore’s own public statements have been silly and embarrassing). All this is ‘leadership cadre’ wheel-spinning that has nothing to do with evangelical community life at the base.

    That coalition helped win enough conservative support to pass a broad immigration bill through the Senate last year, when 14 Republicans joined Democrats in a rare moment of bipartisanship.

    That’s a tendentious way of describing a third of the Senate Republican caucus carrying water for the Chamber of Commerce (with some among them lying their tuchus off through the whole exercise – Marco Rubio and Kelly Ayotte, you can improve public life by leaving it).

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    One big trouble about the debate on immigration is the media’s and religious people’s almost total non-mention of the grossly negative effect millions of low-skilled, low educated or low trained immigrants have on Black communities suffering from these problems.
    Yet millions of Black Americans have been here for hundreds of years and again–to help immigrants- will be again put at the back of the bus. And no one—even Black political activists –seem to care.

  • Larry

    Yeah all those hard working people make collecting public assistance even more shameful looking in retrospect. Now the disenfranchised black communities have someone to be directed to hate who won’t upset the power structures against them. The reason there is no mention of such a thing is because its a fiction.

    Like you are actually concerned about the black community? That is all too funny. There is nothing more ridiculous than the feigned concern nativists have for poor sections of our society. Conservatives are not too concerned about them when using fictitious illegal alien voter fraud as an excuse to keep poor urban blacks from the polls. Too eager to find new and interesting ways they should be incarcerated. Too eager to support economic blights on that community.

    As I have said before, if an American citizen, with all the advantages of living in this country, access to education, who can legally work for the majority of companies in the US, are somehow disadvantaged by illegal aliens, they are pathetic. It means our education system is completely dysfunctional. If one’s competition for work is someone who can’t apply for a job with any known corporation or even speaks the language with a degree of proficiency, that is utterly shameful.

    There is nothing more dishonest in the nativist canon than the phony concern for poor americans, working class people, and legal immigrants in the system. The arguments all boil down to a level of willful ignorance and omission as to what the situation really is.

  • I’m not sure the effect is large, but it is real. George Borjas has done work in this realm the burden of which is that the posited welfare benefits from trade in labor are small (0.1% of gdp per annum) and distributed to the affluent. Low skill workers lose out. Remember Anna Quindlen defending Kimba Wood and her au pair on the New York Times op=ed page? That’s about the size of it.

    What these denominational goombas never explain is why the provision of mundane social services by congregations or by regional agencies has implications for one’s understanding of immigration as a social phenomenon. Local agencies can encounter all manner of human problems and only a fraction will be immigration related at all. As for the cousins of these people at home, they get some remittance income, but only in the case of very peculiar economies is it all that consequential for the economy as a whole. Institutional adjustment in the domestic sphere of these countries would be much more effective than small remittance flows.

    And what the goombas neglect is that the people promoting immigration do so because they do not much care for the vernacular population of the United States and want such bitter-clingers to be outvoted by others more readily manipulated by the professional-managerial bourgeois. Far be it for Russell Moore to have a vague concern for the worldly interest of pew-sitting Southern Baptists.

  • Creed Pogue

    The House Republican leadership did not move a bill (ANY bill). They could have brought the Senate bill up for a vote (it probably would have passed but NOT with a majority of Republicans). They could have put together their own comprehensive bill and then thrashed it out with the Senate. They could have put together their own border security first bill to appeal to their base. But, they did NOthing because they could not bring together 218 Republicans to do ANYthing. It is highly unlikely that will change with the number of new Republicans who got elected while promising to do NOthing on immigration.

    It is highly disingenuous for anyone to claim that the President’s executive order did anything to harm the prospects of action on the Senate bill when the House GOP made it crystal clear that they weren’t going to do anything.

  • Neon Genesis

    Those evangelical Christians who will abandon the immigration reform cause because they’re throwing a hissy fit over Obama’s perfectly legit executive action reveal their true motivations and that they never really cared about immigration rights and they only cared about protecting their own reputations.

  • because they’re throwing a hissy fit over Obama’s perfectly legit executive action

    Does the Center for American Progress pay you by the word?