The Common Good

Immigration Reform

A signal of possible change appeared early last week, for example, as reported in the Chicago Tribune last Tuesday. Brian Bennett reported on how conservative evangelicals, long presumed to be anti-immigration reform, were now seeing the emergence of various important voices in a coalition of supporters. They are pushing their political kin in GOP legislator ranks to change.

Instead of right versus left or Republican versus Democrat, this time it is "conservatives versus conservatives," observed libertarian Alex Nowrasteh from the Cato Institute. On this issue many libertarians, U.S. Chamber of Commerce types, and conservative Christian organizations are surprising publics who thought immigration reform was a cause of the left.

While Republican strategists dub the coalition "Bible, badges, and business," a network of evangelical pastors will encourage their congregations to publicize and read 40 biblical passages about how to treat foreigners, calling this push the "I Was a Stranger" Challenge. The Evangelicals, seen as newcomers to the political battle on this side, are not alone.

A canvass of websites shows that liberal, moderate, and mainline Protestant denominations and most of their non-denominational cousins have been strong on this front for years. Catholics are strongly on their side, being able to cite official documents of their church, texts which enhance the arguments in the forty biblical passages. Jews, Orthodox Christians, Mormons, and others provide religious rationales, drawing on their sacred texts.