While they've largely couched their arguments in moral terms, the fact of the matter is, they see Latino immigrants -- both legal and undocumented -- representing a significant population for proselytizing.
However, evangelical leaders are also advancing a more controversial line of argument: that immigration reform is practical or even desirable because Latinos subscribe to moral and religious values in line with social conservatives. Here's a quote from Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention:
Some evangelicals have stirred the pot further by drawing a contrast between predominantly Christian immigrants to the U.S. and a largely Muslim migration to Western Europe.First of all -- Oriental? Seriously? Guess Land never got the memo.
"Realistically, I think it is probably more politically feasible to do this because the overwhelming majority of the people that we're talking about come from a European civilization," said Land. "It would be more problematic if we had 12 [million] to 14 million undocumented people and they were either Oriental or Islamic... Whether that is right or wrong, I'm just giving you a realistic political calculation."
"When I talk to political and religious leaders in Europe, one of their great concerns is their migration is coming from non-Christian regions, whereas most of our immigration is coming from people who have a Christian tradition," Anderson said.
What's disturbing is the idea that these deeply held moral and religious convictions that are motivating the push for immigration reform could suddenly shift if we were talking about immigration from somewhere else.
In that case, why do I suspect they'll find some twisted reasoning to justify an organized effort to block the immigration of "Oriental or Islamic" people?