Southern Baptist leader on immigration order: ‘I’m trying to figure out what the problem is’

Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, has served as one of the contrary conservative voices when it comes to immigration reform.

Land, part of the bureaucracy of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, has repeatedly warned Republicans that they risk being on the wrong side of history when it comes to demanding that millions of illegal immigrants, who have lived here for years, exit the country.

This morning on CNN, Land discussed President Barack Obama’s executive order to establish a system of deportation waivers for young people brought here by their illegal immigrant parents. Note that Land does not challenge the legality of Obama’s action. Here’s an abridged transcript:

”These people that were covered by this executive order – this is the low-hanging fruit of immigration reform. These young people – 99.9 percent of them – have done nothing wrong. They didn’t bring themselves here…

“In an election year, everything is going to be perceived as being political. But the president’s been waiting for Congress to do something. Congress hasn’t done it. Congress, I think, was in the process of seeking to do something. [U.S. Sen.] Marco Rubio was making some real headway with a bill that is remarkably analogous to what the president did.

“I would rather have Congress do it, because that way it’s a long-term solution, not a short-term solution. But as Marco Rubio said, the president’s action complicates the politics but reduces the urgency. Because it does keep these young people from the fear of being deported….

“I’m trying to figure out what the problem is…..”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

92 comments Add your comment


June 18th, 2012
12:51 pm

Immigration reform is long overdue.


June 18th, 2012
1:00 pm

Obama did it. That’s the problem to the Cons.

K Conway

June 18th, 2012
1:09 pm

Obama could have done anything he wanted when the Democrats had complete control in his first two years! What he does now if just for votes…!!!


June 18th, 2012
1:10 pm

8 years under Bush were was the reform? where was the outrage from Rubio then? its amazing every time this great President tries to do something for the country the right takes shots at him, yet they sat silent for 8 years while Bush never tackled anything concerning this country.


June 18th, 2012
1:13 pm

Now the Republicans have 2 years to figure out a permanent solution.

If Obama hadn’t done this, we would be right where we were before his announcemnt 2 years from now. The only difference now is many young people wii not be under a cloud of fear.


June 18th, 2012
1:16 pm

K Conway. The reason he was not able to do much of anything when the Democrats had control in the first two years is because the Republican senators would filibuster any bill of consequence just to deny the Democrats a victory, even on issues they had supported in the past.


June 18th, 2012
1:16 pm

Obama has tackled more issues then both Bushs, Clinton all put togather history will show this President was not afraid to take on issues of the time, dispite the idiots on the right still living in the 20 century.

Liberalism is a mental disorder

June 18th, 2012
1:17 pm

@ GM “8 years under Bush were was the reform? where was the outrage from Rubio then? its amazing every time this great President tries to do something for the country the right takes shots at him, yet they sat silent for 8 years while Bush never tackled anything concerning this country.”

What? Did you sleep through the entire Bush administration?

In fact Bush DID attempt to do something about immigration but was vehemently opposed by is own party because he also believed that those already here should not be forces to leave.

And great president? High unemployment, MASSIVE debt, falling dollar, dwindling US influence, etc etc Is this your standard of greatness?


June 18th, 2012
1:20 pm

Dear President Obama,

Please come out with an executive order praising oxygen, ASAP. Have Mrs. Obama go on Ellen’s show and tell everyone how important it is to breathe.

Time for the haters to start suffocating themselves.


June 18th, 2012
1:21 pm

Mr. Land, I applaud your very sensible thinking and your leadership in regards to this very important matter. It is rare to find such Leadership in these very trying times. You are truly a Good Shepherd of the flock, in regards to this matter.


June 18th, 2012
1:28 pm

You are truly a Good Shepherd of the flock, in regards to this matter.

He still hates on the gays, though. Smaller demographic, I guess.

Old timer

June 18th, 2012
1:30 pm

The problem to me is, the executive edict. It is not a long term solution. He violates US law. I do think we need to do this, but through legislative channels. And, we need to close the borders first, then fix all the problems. No other country allows unlimited immigration.

Old timer

June 18th, 2012
1:32 pm

GM….where are you getting your information….


June 18th, 2012
1:34 pm

There is a God. Here is a Right Wing zealot using his brain.


June 18th, 2012
1:35 pm

So were all W’s ‘Signing Statements’ violating the law as well? Cons amaze me with their hypocrisy.


June 18th, 2012
1:37 pm

Old Timer,

There are not enough federal employees to expeditiously deport every illegal immigrant living on US soil. Would you prefer the President increase the federal workforce — and your taxes — by the necessary amount, and implement the gestapo-style tactics that would be required to uphold the law as you see it?

If yes, then please make the case on the logistics. Massive police actions are expensive and messy. If that’s not what you want, then realize the best way to FAIRLY handle deportations is to prioritize who needs to be deported. (I vote for dangerous criminals first!) The President’s order simply offers waivers to innocent young people so that the currently-employed federal agents in charge of upholding the law for you have a more reasonable agenda.

Innocent Bystander

June 18th, 2012
1:51 pm

“I’m trying to figure out what the problem is…..”

The problem, reverend, is that this, or any type of similar action, actually encourages continued and increased violation of the sovereign border of the US. “Hey Mexico, lets just take our kids to America illegaly. After all, their giving foreign born kids free amnesty and we can breed a few anchor babies while we’re there. That way when they try to deport us we can claim parental hardship.”

Americans are the most ignorant and short sighted bunch of people on the planet.

Attack Dog

June 18th, 2012
2:02 pm

1. An executive edit may be short term, but it is better than no term. 2. Those who revise history can’t remember that Dixiecrats vowed that building a fence would close the border. 3. The US does not offer unlimited immigration. If it did, Obama wouldn’t be criticized for the largest number of deportations. 4. Under Boehner and McConnell’s lack of leadership, Congress has failed to pass any meaningful legislation to address the nations problems. Peel back the onion at any time.


June 18th, 2012
2:11 pm

It is hard to think of the Southern Baptists being progressive on any issue

Rightwing Troll

June 18th, 2012
2:23 pm

Not to worry, Mittens has stuck his finger to the wind on this one and determined there is some good pandering to be had here, so poutrage all you want wingnuts, this just action will stand even if Mittens gets elected… he will co-opt it and call it his idea, kind of the opposite of RomneyCare, where he did it before he was against it…

BTW, I wasn’t a big W fan, but on this issue he was on the correct side…


June 18th, 2012
2:24 pm

There are few on either side of the political divide that do not feel compassion for those brought into the country illegally as young children and placed in the quandary of being legal citizens of a country that is foreign to them and illegal residents of the only one they have ever called home.

The primary issue here is not the motivation or outcome of Mr Obama’s actions. The issue is blatantly using the executive order to essentially condone and codifying the violation of federal law by executive fiat. In many ways this kind of unilateral power play is reminiscent of the dictatorial systems of government that so many came here to escape! The timing of his actions is also very curious given that Mr Obama himself is on record as opining that he did not have the authority to do exactly what he just did and his announcement came on the heels of flagging poll numbers and the day after a speech intended to reboot his campaign fell flat.


June 18th, 2012
2:34 pm

Obama’s executive order is merely his instruction for selective enforcement of current law. Congress will have to pass a new law, or it will be up to future administrations whether to use selective enforcement, or not.

There is going to be lots of abuse of this – some sanctuary states will let new illegal immigrants simply claim they were brought here before they were 16 without having to verify it. I suspect the next Congress will tackle this issue – especially after the Supreme Court rules in the next 2 weeks about whether individual states can do what the federal government currently refuses. Obama will probably veto whatever Congress passes, and Romney will probably sign it.


June 18th, 2012
2:34 pm

You libs wouldn’t be so nice if one of these illegals driving with
no license or insurance had a wreck with you or one of your kids…..
It happens everyday and nothing is done, but if it was you or me they
would put us in jail and or sue us for everything we have… the least we
can do is get them off the roads, out of our schools and emergency rooms….

I for one an sick of paying for these free loaders and they need to go back to
where every they came from– fill out the correct paperwork and then come to the
US and if take 10 years then so be it. Most of these kids know their here illegally
yet do nothing about it except use our system…. Sorry their country’s are crap but
is that the fault of the US Taxpayer?

Enough is Enough….


June 18th, 2012
2:35 pm

The problem is. . .Congress, which “earns” at least $175,000/year + a $5000/month housing allowance, etc is doing absolutely nothing, but trying to unelect President Obama.

The refuse to deal with the VAWA, paycheck fairness, immigration reform, student loan reform, job creation, tax reform, etc. It is just too hard for these old men and their old ideas, to deal with the new realities most Americans live with on a day-to-day basis.

At least President Obama makes the effort to propose legislation, host meeting in which compromise seems possible, but is allusive when it comes to the GOP. All the Congress wants is to denigrage the President. god forbid, that black man get a second term!


June 18th, 2012
2:44 pm

rockerbabe- I agree congress is way overpaid and there should be term limits
for these people.. Pelosi, Reid and plenty of Republicans just need to go– period.
On the other hand I don’t care is Obama is black, yellow , green whatever he is
in over his head and needs to go as well.. He has done zero and don’t blame it on
congress as dems controlled for the first 2 years and all he did was ram an overpriced healthcare
law through that most people don’t want and the courts will be throwing out next week…
We better get our act together or the US will be Greece in the next few years–


June 18th, 2012
2:52 pm

James, rest assured that there are far more people like yourself who drive without licenses and kill someone’s children.


June 18th, 2012
2:56 pm

james @ 2:34,

If one sets aside the hatred and bigotry that oozes from you post, you almost make a legitimate point. For example, as natural-born US citizens, every inch of our lives is documented and recorded. Yes, we are indeed kept in line by the bureaucracies that monitor and control us in the name of freedom. Those who live off the grid bypass responsibilities that we undertake automatically, (i.e., driving lessons, car insurance, and being held accountable for our actions.) Indeed, the lack of respect for our traffic laws — and failure to properly maintain a vehicle, risking the lives of everyone on the road — are my pet peeves as well.

But what the President did has little to do with that. The waiver is for “GOOD” kids who have done and are doing the things we expect of our own kids. Furthermore, your stereotype of “freeloaders” is grossly inaccurate. Most illegal immigrants are here to WORK. If they’re not being properly taxed to cover the services they receive, then yes, let’s address that.

Nastiness is no answer.


June 18th, 2012
2:57 pm

Horse- I am sure there are but those Legal Americans would end up in jail
while illegals walk after a day or two… so the my
friends in Police department over here in Northeast Ga tell me….


June 18th, 2012
2:58 pm

I wonder if anyone understands there is a large area in Arizona that is so dangerous because of hostile Mexican drug traffickers that Americans can’t even travel there and are warned by our government not to enter. Can you believe this, under Obama, Americans cannot even travel inside America because of illegal aliens.


June 18th, 2012
3:04 pm

GABLUE- we are on the same page but I understand that most
illegals are paid in cash and pay no taxes except when they buy
items at stores, etc…

If you want to let illegals contince to use our schools and other services
then let them tax your group extra to cover these costs… I for one can’t
afford it anymore….

Road Scholar

June 18th, 2012
3:05 pm

james: If you would think, now that the “young illegals’ can get a visa and stay here legally…as long as they do not break the law…without fear of the government. Now they might, without fear, get a driver’s license and insurance to …get his now…not break the law? Or they may be like many of our current” outstanding legal citizens” and not have a license and/or insurance…ya’ know they are out there…of all races….

And ya’ know I’m tired of paying the price of supporting our “outstanding citizens” who game the American people…do you have a cure for this also?


June 18th, 2012
3:06 pm


Let them tax my group more? Sorry, but I don’t have a “group.”


June 18th, 2012
3:11 pm

Road Scholar- I hear ya! Lets see– cut government programs
for our lazy American citzens that have been on the take
for years would be a nice start…. That would save us billions
over time….

Devil's Advocate

June 18th, 2012
3:16 pm

Hey everybody! I’m MAD just to be MAD!


June 18th, 2012
3:18 pm

Where are all these ‘haters’ to which the libs keep referring? Are they talking about people who believe in the rule of law and the Constitution? If so, it seems that the libtards are the real Haters’.


June 18th, 2012
3:26 pm

James, you don’t get a pass making comments without specific reference to sources where someone “walked” because they were in the county illegally. If a law enforcement agency let someone “walk” after vehicular homicide – regardless of their citizenship status – their agency needs to be carefully reviewed.


June 18th, 2012
3:27 pm

What many people fail to realize is that the USofA is all about the dollar bill. What Obama did by EO has been in play by ICE already. Furthermore, the whole “amnesty” debate is bs. The US has legal amnesty, and it will never go away. There are probably millions of legal residents that came here either legally or otherwise, never left, then married a US citizen and got their paperwork in order.

US immigration law is so complex that I’ve come across cases where immigration lawyers didn’t correctly advise their clients on their options. Simple sloganeering will not help, nor will simplistic approaches. I’m willing to wager the true reason there has been no serious attempt at immigration reform is because there are probably very few in DC who even have a cursory knowledge of our immigration laws.


June 18th, 2012
3:31 pm

James – that’s right, cut to the chase. Those “lazy seniors” need to have their Medicare and Social Security cut off.

And maybe, just maybe, we don’t need to be spending more on defense than all other countries combined? Those lazy defense contractors!!

While you’re at it, let’s close all of the libraries, since I’m sure you agree that most of those books need to be burned anyway.


June 18th, 2012
3:32 pm

Being on the other side I’m stunned at his common sense approach to this matter. I’m sure his fellow Conservatives are as well. But then maybe not. After all, it appears to have painted the Repubs into a corner. I’ve heard few who are against it. Only some who say it doesn’t go far enough. But I didn’t listen to CONservative radio and tv this weekend.


June 18th, 2012
3:41 pm

Now that President Obama has decided, without the approval of the citizens of this country, to selectively enforce our laws. (I’m not in total opposition to the concept of allowing exceptions for the CHILDREN.) will the children being here legally prevent us from deporting the parents. Probably! So while the children are innocent, the parents are not. Those who knowingly, willingly, broke the law and came here should be required to go back and start over the legal way. To do anything else invites even more illegal immigration. There is another aspect of this, those who have followed the rules are suffering the backlash that has been rightly directed at those who are illegal. Deportation of all who willingly broke our law would go a long way toward lowering the unemployment rate, and not just in agriculture.


June 18th, 2012
3:51 pm

“Deportation of all who willing broke our law would go a long way toward lowering the unemployment rate…”

Really? Can you cite a study by a legitimate organization that shows that effect?


June 18th, 2012
3:58 pm

Ann, your comment “…Obama has decided, without the approval of the citizens of this country, to selectively enforce our laws.”

Is puzzling, in that, other than a lot of bluster and heated rhetoric, I see nobody stepping up to file a lawsuit indicating that it oversteps Obama’s authority. In fact, only one executive order has ever been deemed invalid.


June 18th, 2012
4:13 pm

Janet Napolitano gets the credit (or blame depending on your perspective) because she told Obama there is not enough money for anything other than selective enforcement. I think farmers need a good guest worker program but this particular proposal is different and I hope these young people have greater ambitions than yard and restaurant work. In fact if history give us any way to look at what the probable outcome will be I predict that we will soon hear the usual perpetual victims claiming that these young people are taking all the jobs.


June 18th, 2012
4:19 pm

So the rationale is that they should get to stay because it wasn’t their choice to come here, their parents brought them? Okay. They can stay…as long as the person whose fault it *is* gets deported. If the idea is to legalize those who are in violation of immigration law through no fault of their own, then punish those who PUT THEM IN THIS POSITION. The parent who dragged them into a life of lying, cheating, and criminality. I might even support this, if the guilty are punished as part and parcel of amnestying their children.

Oh, and bar any amnestied children from EVER sponsoring *anyone* for a visa (except, maybe, for a new spouse).


June 18th, 2012
4:27 pm

Sanity from a Southern Baptist, who’d thunk it possible?


June 18th, 2012
4:33 pm

Those who knowingly, willingly, broke the law and came here should be required to go back and start over the legal way.

Ah, the usual screams about eye-leagles, with not a single idea how to enforce these grandiose notions. Sorry Ann, we welcomed illegal labor for many years, now those darn people won’t just evaporate after they built your McMansion. How terribly inconvenient.

Did you read the requirements?

June 18th, 2012
4:34 pm

Ann – Since the children cannot apply to the “program” until after their 16th birthday, there should not be an issue with parental hardship. They also have to have had 5 years of verifiable education and/or service to our country.

Personally, I would like to see one simple law passed in addition to this: Serve our country for 2 years and gain citizenship.


June 18th, 2012
4:36 pm

Obama’s decision is certainly not a total solution to the massive illegal immigration problem–and, as far as I know, it has not been touted as such.

Since most of the people covered by the decision were already here even back when Bush was president and, since their own GOP president, with a GOP Congressional majority, did not send them home either, and since at least some time before the Reagan amnesty, the GOP certainly seems to have wanted the illegals here to keep wages for the American employee class as low as possible, all that feigned outrage of the GOP– in all its hypocrisy– is truly galling.

David Granger

June 18th, 2012
4:55 pm

The problem is that the “Imperial Presidency” that Richard Nixon wanted seems to have come to fruition in President Obama. He’s taking a course of “To HELL with what the law is”…and is selecting which laws to enforce, and which to simply ignore.
I support the DREAM act, and think it needs to be the law of the land. But there’s a right way to do that…and if he can’t get it passed legitimately, via proper legal channels…a President should not just say “I’m going to order it in force anyway, and to hell with congress.”
That’s why President Obama is losing ground with so many independents.

Ol' Timer

June 18th, 2012
5:31 pm

I look for Richard Land to be ousted from his job with the SBC. His views ON THIS ISSUE are entirely too rational to stand up against the irrational and radical positions they take on all social issues.

One cannot carry on a rational discussion with religious folk. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be religious.