Some Republican leaders like Jeb Bush have called for the legalization of undocumented immigrants without a pathway to citizenship. Other Republicans who actually oppose immigration reform leading to legalization argue that legalization without a pathway to citizenship would go against American values. One such representative of anti-immigration reform remarked that the legalization of undocumented immigrants without a path to citizenship would lead to a Jim Crow system of two tiers of Americans—those who have citizenship and those who cannot. While the group hopes that legalization of undocumented immigrants fails to pass, they are making a good case in view of democratic values on equality against the compromise position held by Jeb Bush and others.
One way or another, if one of these two positions wins out among Republicans, Republicans may end up eating crow during the next Presidential election. Some Republicans fear that the Democrats will be viewed increasingly as the representatives of equality and justice and the Republicans the advocates of a two class system. The Republicans have a long way to go to be viewed as a party that welcomes minority groups.
Last year, after the Presidential election, I wrote a post that included a discussion about what Republicans could do to become more open toward minority groups. My recommendations still stand and bear on the present discussion. Among other things, I hope that Republicans make the shift and become more welcoming of minorities, including those who are undocumented immigrants. Such initiatives must not be based on political expediency and survival, but based on the firm conviction that justice and American values require such moves. If the only reason for avoiding Jim Crow is based on opinion poll appearances, then the rationale against Jim Crow is only skin deep. Minorities sympathetic to the concerns of undocumented people of minority status will likely be able to see right through such shallow moves and realize Republican views will change as soon as expedience goes in a different direction. Such minorities (who are becoming a significant voting bloc) will be sure not to vote for these political opportunists whose resulting diet of crow will be most fitting.
This piece is cross-posted at Patheos and The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins. Comments made here are not monitored. To join the conversation, please comment on this post at Patheos.
Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is the Founder and Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and Professor at Multnomah Biblical Seminary/Multnomah University. He is the author of numerous works, including Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths and Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church. These volumes and his others can be found wherever fine books are sold.