On his program last evening, Alan Colmes interviewed Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver about the position staked out by a few Religious Right activists, including Richard Land, Ken Blackwell, and Lou Engle, calling for immigration reform legislation that secures the borders but also provides a pathway to citizenship for those who are already in the country.
Needless to say, this is a rather significant break for the historical right-wing response to any effort toward comprehensive immigration reform, which has tended to consist primarily of people on the Right yelling “AMNESTY!” whenever any such proposal has been floated.
And this is something which Staver obviously recognized, which is why he is insisting that the position for which they are advocating is not “amnesty” but rather an “earned pathway to citizenship” – the difference being that amnesty comes without no conditions or punishments, whereas an “earned pathway to citizenship” would carry with it possible fines, penalties, regulations, and legal obligations … as if that technical distinction is going to stop his allies on the Right from screaming “AMNESTY!”
On a related note, Colmes asked how his allies at the Freedom Federation were going to react to this stance, given that many members of the coalition are the very people who have spent the last several years screaming “AMNESTY!” every time this issue has come up, to which Staver responded that not everybody has to agree with his position, but insisting that there “is more consensus than difference” within the coalition on this issue.
Eventually, Colmes asked Staver why he was so compassionate when it came to the issue of immigration, but so much less compassionate when it comes to the issue of gays, which Staver really didn’t want to answer, saying that he didn’t want to get off topic … but then basically said that, unlike gays, immigrants are not trying to change America and force their views on everyone else: