Richard Land responded to President Barack Obama’s address about immigration reform given today, describing immigration as an issue that requires “presidential leadership.”
Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, attended the speech at the American University at the request of the White House. Land has been calling for “just and compassionate” immigration reform since 2006. His previous statements and other information on this issue can be found here.
His full statement is as follows:
“I applaud the President for his bold and important speech today. The presidency is a unique institution in American life. There are some things that require presidential leadership, and the immigration issue is one of them. This speech by the President, in and of itself, will not solve the immigration crisis, but this speech was a necessary prerequisite to bringing about a fair and just solution to the immigration crisis that is rending the social fabric of our nation.
“In any marriage, you have to first have an initial proposal. The President proposed this morning. It’s up to the Congress to now accept that proposal or to construct its own proposal and to bring forth a bill that will consummate the marriage. We need to call upon our congressmen and senators to behave like statesmen. Politicians think about the next election; statesmen think about the next generation.
“The President laid out a general concept. The problem is always in the details, and I believe that any solution that will meet the fundamental requirement of being accepted by the American people will include securing the border first with measurable metrics that have been certified as met by the federal government in terms of stemming the flow of illegal immigration prior to the implementation of any program that would allow currently undocumented workers to begin a probationary pathway toward legal status, which would include going to the back of the line behind those who have been and are trying to come here legally.
“The Arizona law is a cry for help from a state that is in crisis because the federal government has not done its job for many years now. President Obama has laid out the groundwork for the beginning of an urgent conversation that must be taken up immediately to bring about a solution to this crisis so that we can begin to mend the social fabric, rather than continue to rend it.”