Here’s his case: “There are a lot of people across the economic spectrum, the political spectrum and across the cultural spectrum that believe deeply in the rule of law; that everybody, regardless of race, national origin or economic circumstance should be treated exactly the same. We’re not doing that…We’re focusing strictly on the human element and the consequence of the decision that somebody in that family made to purposely violate the law.”
Delph believes some price needs to be paid before the state or the nation starts clearing a path for citizenship for the children of immigrants who came here illegally. One of his conditions, he said, is a mea culpa: “Some sort of public acknowledgement from whoever was in that child’s life that made that decision to intentionally violate the law and as a result put that child in the situation they are in today.”
Delph describes himself as the “most conservative” Republican in the Indiana General Assembly and acknowledges his views differ sharply from those Republicans who are shifting on immigration reform.
The shift is real: A Pew Research Center poll released last month found that 64 percent of Republicans now believe undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the United States legally; 34 percent of Republicans are opposed to such a proposition.
But Delph argues that backing off principle, just to broaden political appeal, is a mistake: “By just looking at politics and votes, that is a horrible way to make public policy,” Delph said.
“We need to do the right thing,” he continued. “We need to the just thing. I agree with that but we need to be anchored in law … To push that off to the side for political convenience I think is the wrong way to go and I think we will rue the day that we did it.”
— Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at email@example.com