Another Border Run: New York Times Recycles Its 'Conservative Christians Break With GOP on Amnesty' Theme

"Christians On Right Urge Reform On Migrants," ran the headline over Trip Gabriel's Wednesday piece. If it sounds familiar, it's because the New York Times runs these wishful-thinking "conservative Christians break with movement on immigration enforcement" on a regular basis.

From a July 2010 article by Laurie Goodstein: "At a time when the prospects for immigration overhaul seem most dim, supporters have unleashed a secret weapon: a group of influential evangelical Christian leaders."

From a May 2007 story by Neela Banerjee headlined "New Coalition of Christian Seeks Changes at Borders": "A new coalition of more than 100 largely evangelical Christian leaders and organizations asked Congress on Monday to pass bills to strengthen border controls but also give illegal immigrants ways to gain legal residency."

Incidentally, all three stories feature Southern Baptist figure Richard Land, suggesting the conservative coalition on immigration isn't as widespread as the Times would like.

Gabriel's story Wednesday was perhaps the most slanted of all, assuming Romney's appeal to Hispanics has already been undermined and that amnesty for illegals was the predominant issues for Hispanic citizens.

Some of the nation’s most influential evangelical groups urged a solution to illegal immigration on Tuesday that defies the harsh rhetoric of the Republican primary race, which continues to undermine Mitt Romney’s appeal to Hispanic voters.

The call by the groups represents a recognition that in one bedrock element of the conservative movement -- evangelical Christians -- the demography of their followers is changing, becoming more Hispanic, and that Republican leaders risk being out of step with their hawkish talk of border fences and immigration crackdowns like those in Arizona.

Tom Minnery, the senior vice president of policy for one evangelical group, Focus on the Family, said many of the 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants should be free to “come out of the shadows” and “begin the process of restitution” leading to attaining legal residency.

Mr. Minnery spoke at a Capitol Hill news conference called to announce that more than 150 Christian evangelical leaders, including from the Southern Baptist Convention and the National Association of Evangelicals, were endorsing an overhaul of immigration policy.


But so far Mr. Romney has shown no inclination to shift his positions from the primary season, when he attacked his rivals Newt Gingrich and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas for their more moderate immigration stances.

Although he has campaigned with Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a Cuban-American popular with the Tea Party, Mr. Romney has not endorsed Mr. Rubio’s proposal to grant a path to legal residency for some children of illegal immigrants.


A pro-reform movement has been percolating among evangelical groups for the past two to three years, with organizations and churches that align with Republicans on issues like abortion and gay marriage supporting President Obama on immigration reform.

The National Association of Evangelicals, which represents more than 40 denominations, passed a resolution calling for a comprehensive immigration overhaul in 2009. The Southern Baptist Convention did so last year.

It called for “just, fair immigration reform,” said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptists’ ethics commission, who also attended Tuesday’s news conference.