End the Tougher than Thou Approach

The escalated back and forth between GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee has prompted members of the clergy to intervene on how the candidates approach immigration. As Ariel Alexovich notes on The Caucus Blog, several clergy and religious activists have taken note of the current positions of the GOP candidates on immigration:

"Unfortunately, our presidential candidates are allowing themselves to be co-opted into the divisiveness of the debate," said Bishop Thomas Wenski, adding that he doesn’t yet see a leader emerging from the pack.

"Mr. Romney has bet his presidential run on the issue," said Rev. Luis Cortes Jr., president of Latino poverty relief organization Esperanza. That’s led Mr. Huckabee to take "a step to the right."

Rev. Cortes also worried that the country’s rising anti-immigrant sentiment, fueled in part by talk radio, is creating an increase in hate crimes against Hispanics.

"This issue isn’t going away, and it won’t go away with a few ‘Let’s just make the border stronger’ comments," said Rev. Joel Hunter, senior pastor of the Northland parish in Longwood, Fla.

And in the spirit of Christmas, Bishop Wenski pointed out that after the baby Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph took him and fled the oppressive reign of King Herod:

"Certainly, they didn’t have visas to cross into Egypt."

The Catholic Church, which has long been a staunch advocate for comprehensive immigration reform, also weighed in. Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, wrote a letter to each candidate encouraging them to "show leadership on the issue of immigration" and to "work with your fellow candidates and the American people to find a humane and comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system." A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said, "The Cardinal understands that some of the candidates have addressed the issue responsibly and courageously, while others have used attacks against immigrants as a campaign tactic,” said Tamberg. “The latter group knows who they are." I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that they're referring to candidates like this: