A very real schism is forming among conservatives. It is a schism that is most certainly a deal breaker in Republican politics, as evidenced by an observation of immigration hardliner State Rep. Leo Berman (R - Intolerance). One that I am very taken with.
Let me set this up. If you are conservative you look at the issue of immigration in one of three ways: 1) the visions of Evangelicals, 2) the views of conservative businessmen, and 3) the vomit of hardliners.
Evangelicals are family oriented and see the need for having “a solid balance between justice and compassion.” Compassion, say, for the compassion they have to the millions of illegal aliens who would be separated from their American citizen relatives, splitting fathers and sons, mothers and daughters. Evangelicals don’t want to discuss immigration unless it has in it provisions for a “path to citizenship.”
Conservative businessmen are looking at immigration in terms of a need to cheaply fill the jobs in agriculture, hospitality, and construction that no American will do – at least not for the kind of pay that illegal aliens accept.
Hardliners want all illegal aliens to leave, no questions, ifs, ands or buts. They are by definition criminals when they broke the immigration laws.
It creates an alliance between Evangelicals and conservative businessmen against the third, more odious branch of conservatism – the hardliners.
And why are hardliners so . . . well . . . hard line about illegal aliens? Enter Leo Berman.
“Berman said he believes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants is a path to creating Democratic voters.”
“‘There's 25 million in the United States - you can't listen to the 8 million to 12 million numbers that come out of Washington every day - you're going to create an instant 25 million Democrats,’ Berman said.”
“‘I don't think these evangelical leaders understand that.’”
Twenty-five million Democratic votes. That’s what’s behind the hardliner objection to illegal aliens getting legal residency. Becoming naturalized Americans.
Because as Richard Land, an evangelical who is president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission very correctly observes:
“If the conservative coalition is going to be a governing coalition, it's going to have to include an awful lot of Hispanics, and you're not going to bring an awful lot of Hispanics into your coalition with anti-Hispanic immigration rhetoric.”
So are the hardliners who oppose a path to citizenship the racists we have all been led to believe they are? Maybe, maybe not. The only thing that is certain is that the hardliner position may be racially inspired, but it is most definitely a position that speaks directly to their hopes to retain or regain political power in America.
It’s nice though, to have your prejudices complement your desire for political power from time to time.
Ask Pol Pot whose Khmer Rouge once famously wrote this: “To keep you is no benefit, to destroy you is no loss.”