Immigration Reform Picks Up Evangelical Support

Jim Burroway

July 20th, 2010

Politico reports that President Barack Obama has picked up surprising support among some prominent Evangelical leaders for his proposed Immigration Reform bill. Some of those impressive names include Richard Land of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. Politico’sJosh Gerstein and Ben Smith note that the basis for some of that support among Evangelicals is that “immigration reform is practical or even desirable because Latinos subscribe to moral and religious values in line with social conservatives.”

But one key component of immigration reform is the Uniting Families Act, which would allow the foreign partner of same-sex couples the same opportunities for U.S. residency as the foreign partner of a heterosexual married couple. Will Obama’s chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel advise the President to throw out this important provision in order to “reach across the aisle”? Gerstein and Smith don’t really address this scenario except to call it an area of potential tension. When Obama took office, he promised to support “legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples.” But among many of the more politically active evangelicals, dropping the Uniting Families Act will be the price for this newfound support.

Timothy Kincaid

July 20th, 2010

Two thoughts:

I doubt that Latinos are quite as politically aligned with the values of social conservatives as they imagine. In California, virtually EVERY Latino politician (or at least the Democrats, which are the vast majority of Latino politician) is not only strongly pro-gay but also pro-marriage. Even some of the Republican Latinos support marriage equality.

If Obama tosses out immigration for gay folk, then he’s only going to further the impression that he’s not really much of a fierce advocate at all.


July 20th, 2010

If Obama throws gay immigrants (and the gay Americans they are with – this isn’t just some “help the foreigners” bill) under the bus on UAFA, he can make up for it.

By striking down DOMA, UAFA is completely unnecessary. Anyone want to take an over-under on whether Obama’s going to get DOMA overturned? Anyone? Anyone? Hello….?


July 20th, 2010

I live on the East Coast, and the latinos we have here that would be effected by the reform are very, VERY conservative. Especially the men. They are very traditional Catholic, and very much into the idea that even the slightest deviation from stereotypical masculinity must be punished.

I can easily see why the evangelicals are siding with the reform.


July 20th, 2010

The social conservatism of Latinos, or at least their desire to indict it on others, is much exaggerated.


July 20th, 2010

Any by indict, I meant inflict. Have you ever considered allowing short-term comment editing?

Mark F.

July 20th, 2010

Immigration reform is dead in the water this year. The votes are not there and no way do the Democrats want this used as a campaign issue against them.

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