Sunday, July 8, 2007

Candidate Brownback asks Latinos for forgiveness from Nashville platform

Repentance for tone of immigration debate

"We want you in America. We love you and ask you to forgive us for these negative comments."

From today's article in the Tennessean about TheCall, a gathering of Christians yesterday at LP Field, the home of the Tennessee Titans:
"TheCall was billed as nonpolitical, but U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, who is running for president, appeared alongside Engle shortly after the program started at 10 a.m."

Brownback "[asked] a Hispanic man onstage for forgiveness for the negative tone Washington's immigration debate has taken."

"'I want to say to my Latino brothers, forgive us for that,' Brownback said. 'We want you in America. We love you and ask you to forgive us for these negative comments.'"

"Illegal immigration is the senator's top priority, according to his campaign Web site, and he has voted for hundreds of miles of border fences and additional detention facilities."
Brownback's faith has spurred him to apologize in other contexts, as well. It was recently reported here that Brownback apologized at a prayer breakfast to fellow U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton, for his self-described hatred of her and her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Brownback was one of a number of legislators who joined then-Majority Leader and U.S. Senator Bill First on a trip organized by the Faith and Politics Institute to various civil rights sites including Nashville (original story in Hispanic Nashville here).

Senator Brownback was honored by the National Council of La Raza in 2002. Brownback was described by the NCLR's President as "a moderating force in the Congressional leadership. At a time in which there are loud Republican voices in Congress challenging the rights of immigrants, Senator Brownback has been a voice of reason, promoting positive immigration policies that recognize the many contributions immigrants make to this great nation with their hard work and energy," according to the organization's press release. The NCLR describes itself as "the largest constituency-based national Hispanic organization, serving all Hispanic nationality groups in all regions."

Brownback ultimately voted to kill the latest immigration bill in the U.S. Senate, saying in this press release that, "We need to help 'the widow and orphan and foreigner amongst us,' but must do so in a way and at a time the American people support. This is not yet the right way. We should let the topic rest for now while we work diligently to secure our borders. Americans support legal immigration, not illegal immigration. We desire to be compassionate but demand adherence to the rule of law."

For positive voices about immigrants and Hispanics, including voices of faith, read Liberty Together.

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