I’ve been processing the immediate debate on this, including Hannity’s “I’ve evolved on a pathway to citizenship” and Rush Limbaugh’s continuing appreciation of Heather Mac Donald.
I appreciate Heather, too, but I want to make a new case: Latinos are not opposed to sensible immigration policy. They are opposed to rhetoric that suggests that conservatives do not care about them.
I particularly it’s particularly wrong to suggest that the way forward is for business and economic conservatives to take the lead. It will tear up the base.
This is the moment for Southern Baptists. We need to define the issue as not about comprehensive immigration reform, but about the search for something we can do for Latinos who are caught between the law and a hard place.
I would argue that Latino children brought here illegally by parents are our first concern, and that religious conservatives need to take the lead here, Catholics and evangelicals. These children are our children — they have no country to call home except America.
We might also think about throwing in a “Mom visa”: you can bring your mom here if you promise to support her. She won’t be a citizen, and she won’t get Social Security, but you can bring her here and help care for her in her old age.
A first cut.
This will not win us majority Latino support. But it will help persuade Latinos who are open to the conservative message that we understand their problems and don’t hate them.
It’s religious conservatives, not the corporation heads, who need to take the lead.