Regarding Rob Christenen’s Nov. 17 column “GOP split over immigrants”: As an organizer deeply involved with immigration reform efforts, I have met with nearly all of our Republican congressmen. At their core, conservatives are not anti-immigrant or nativists; rather, many lack a full understanding of the issue and don’t have a framework to build a well-defined position.
What makes it worse is that many of those few influential voices in the conservative media are either silent or loudly “anti-illegal immigrant.” Also, many pastors have not preached on the issue, so congregants are not aware of the connection with faith and immigration.
Over the past two years, we have been teaching conservatives how to connect their faith and their conservative ideals with acceptance and love for the immigrant. I have been very impressed how receptive conservative congressmen, pastors, business leaders and others have been when they are shown how to connect the dots. Some have been very emotional when they saw that what their heart was telling them lines up so clearly with their beliefs and principles.
The votes are there for immigration reform among Republicans. We will have immigration reform. The only question is how many more people will be hurt, how much money will be lost and how great an opportunity will be lost before it is done.
John J. Faison
Executive director, Centro Interncional de Raleigh