KETK News reports: There is one issue in the fight over illegal immigration that comes very close to pleasing both Republicans and Democrats. It’s summed up in a bill called the Dream Act. And now, it has support from a group that might surprise you.
Richard Land is a familiar figure to both Baptists, and TV audiences being a regular guest on talk shows whenever public policy and faith issues collide. He heads the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention the second largest Christian body in the US. He also favors the Dream Act.
“The Dream Act is aimed precisely and specifically at thost people who haven’t broken the law. These people are innocent,” Land told KETK.
Dr. Richard Land and the SBC have also been largely associated with the Republican Party over the years.
But he has announced that, with restrictions, he can support a bill written by Democratic Senator Richard Durbin. “Well, It seems to me, why would people not support the Dream Act if it’s a clean act,” he says. “It gives people who are here in an undocumented status, through no fault of their own, the ability to earn their way to full legal status by serving honorably in our military and defending the country, or by going to college and getting degrees and becoming productive members of society.”
The Dream Act would extend essentially an amnesty to young people whose parents brought them into the country illegally, and who ultimately graduate from a four year college or serve a hitch in the military.
But Land says, the bill must be accompanied by a couple of restrictions… “”We have to secure the border and secure the workplace first,” he warned.
Land also says we have to face reality about those who are already here. “What we have now is a mess,” he told us. “And it’s a mess by virtue of the government not enforcing the law for 20 years. I had a congressman say to me, well, it’s wrong not to enforce the law. And I said yes you’re right. And it’s also not to have enforced the law for 20 years and all of a sudden say retroactively, well, we’re going to enforce the law. You let somebody work here for 20 years, establish a family here, establish roots here and then say ‘you’ve been breaking the law here for 20 years. We haven’t said anything, but now you have to go home.’ That’s not fair.”
KETK asked Land about the response he’s gotten from his membership. He says the sentiment is running about 80-20 in favor of the Dream Act. It is divided mainly along age lines with older Baptists being more disapproving than younger ones.