The most important milestone on immigration reform this weekend was not "The Full Marco" "“ Sen. Marco Rubio's seven-show Sunday blitz. It was a story in The New York Times documenting a shift by evangelical Christians toward easing immigration laws.
Julia Preston reported:
"The shift among evangelical Christians could have a powerful effect on the fight in Washington, as Republican lawmakers, including many who have opposed any amnesty for illegal immigrants, look to see how much they can support measures to bring those immigrants into the legal system without alienating conservative voters."
"Evangelical leaders, seeing the opportunity to expand their influence on a social issue beyond abortion and same-sex marriage, have broadly united this year behind a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally. They are conducting an ambitious push to sway Congress, including ad campaigns on Christian radio stations in five states, meetings with lawmakers, and a challenge to churchgoers to pray every day for 40 days using Bible passages that speak of welcoming the stranger."
Many Republicans in Congress oppose immigration reform, denouncing it as "amnesty." Preston's story reflects a significant split in the GOP coalition, given the party's strong reliance on evangelical mega-churches to disseminate messages, target voters, and organize voters on Election Day.