GOP Stands at Immigration Crossroads

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tonight, Republican presidential candidates will take the stage for their sixth primary debate.

Fox Business is hosting the debate in Charleston, S.C. — the home state of Gov. Nikki Haley, who gave the well-received GOP rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address. In her speech, Haley highlighted her family’s own immigrant story and the need for our politicians to work together on productive and humane policy solutions for our broken immigration system.

Her remarks contrast with harsher rhetoric from others in her party, including some candidates for president. But the numbers are on her side: Conservatives recognize that we need a better immigration process.

The Pew Research Center found last year that 72 percent of Americans, including 56 percent of Republicans, support allowing undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to stay if they meet certain requirements. Earlier research found that only 27 percent of Republicans support employing law enforcement for a mass deportation effort.

Also in 2015, LifeWay Research found that more than two-thirds of evangelical Christians support immigration reform that includes both border security and the opportunity for undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship.

And in December, the Public Religion Research Institute found that 63 percent of survey respondents overall support a way for immigrants without documentation to meet certain requirements and earn citizenship, compared with 18 percent in favor of mass deportation.

“When it comes to immigration, conservative voters have a sign hanging on the door: Leadership Wanted. Dredging up xenophobia is not leadership. It is demagoguery,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum Action Fund. “Governor Haley’s remarks reflect the consensus among many conservatives: America is better when we honor our values and welcome people desperate for freedom.

“Will presidential candidates follow her lead, or will they echo Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and the fringe voices? Only one of these roads leads to the solutions voters want.”



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