Conservatives Push Back on Negative Rhetoric

Assistant Director of Communications

April 4, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Negative rhetoric targeting immigrants is eliciting increasing disapproval from Americans in the heartland and elsewhere.

Strong majorities of Americans continue to oppose mass deportation and favor ways for immigrants who lack authorization to earn legal status and remain in the country. And as some Steve King voters describe the Iowa Republican congressman’s immigration rhetoric as “way out of line,” regional leaders are hearing similar sentiments from conservative constituencies around the country.

“Across the Southeast, I am regularly meeting people from all walks of life who recognize that we need ethical, humane and biblical solutions to the immigration problems before us,” said Alan Cross, Southeast Regional Mobilizer for the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network. “Few want to see families broken up or hardworking people deported. Getting tough on undocumented immigrants seems good in the abstract, but support for mass deportation falls apart completely as soon as we talk about actual situations, children, families, people trying to just make a life for themselves who have been here for 10 to 20 years. I believe we can respond in a way that benefits everyone, upholds the rule of law and secures our borders if we work together.”

“I’ve been hearing from many conservative leaders in the Midwest that they are put off by derogatory language on immigrants and refugees,” said Liz Dong, Midwest Regional Mobilizer for Bibles, Badges and Business. “Conservative leaders are looking for something better than hardline immigration policies that place families and communities at risk and do not make us safer.”

“Many conservative leaders in Arizona are increasingly frustrated with the inaction in Washington toward real solutions on immigration, which perpetuates fear and misses opportunities to bolster our economy,” said Adam Estle, Field Director for Bibles, Badges and Business, who is based in Phoenix. “We hope our Arizona congressional delegation can continue to lead efforts to create an immigration process that increases community and national security while valuing the contributions of all new Americans, to the benefit of the entire nation.”

“The level of frustration and concern expressed by conservative Texans is growing,” said Brenda Kirk, a South Central Regional Mobilizer for Bibles, Badges and Business. “The wall does not make sense, fiscally or effectively, in securing the Texas border. Fear among hardworking immigrants challenges the assurances that removal would be of hardened criminals and ‘bad dudes,’ and instead impacts businesses, churches and law enforcement. We need immigration reform now.”

“In my travels across Texas, most faith leaders, business leaders and law enforcement officials support a moderate and reasonable immigration reform over the extreme, harsh and economically hurtful removal of immigrants, breaking up of families and building of walls,” said Tim Moore, also a South Central Regional Mobilizer for Bibles, Badges and Business. “The value and contribution of the immigrant has been firmly established in the Lone Star State.”

“Conservatives are recognizing that immigration is about our culture and our values, not just our politics,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “Negative political rhetoric does not move us forward, nor does it align with our shared values as a country. As fear pushes some immigrants deeper into the shadows, Americans have an opportunity to respond by standing for their value to our nation.”