Some conservatives gear up for immigration reform following Obama policy change

Tony Pierce / KPCC

Marchers supporting immigrant rights march in downtown L.A. in May, 2010. At least one L.A. evangelical conservative is applauding Obama's executive order sparing some undocumented students deportation.

Following President Barack Obama’s announcement last Friday that undocumented students would be spared deportation if they meet certain requirements, immigration has become a buzz topic again. Some conservatives are saying it’s time for comprehensive reform.

Robert Gittelson, a conservative evangelical and Los Angeles businessman, is also a vocal advocate for immigration reform. He says he's not alone.

“I feel that we are reaching a tipping point," said Gittelson, "where conservatives in this country are saying, 'Let’s solve this problem in a realistic, reasonable, compassionate, but firm way.'"

Gittelson said on Monday that he’s eager to hear Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s ideas for immigration, adding that a growing number of church and GOP leaders — including U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Kay Bailey Hutchison — are coming out strongly in support of comprehensive immigration overhaul.

The way they're looking for, according to Gittelson, will "respect the rule of law" while still "respect[ing] the fact that these people have been here for a long time."

"They are a part of our community and we should allow them — at least the ones that can qualify for legalization — to have an opportunity to come out of the shadows and live their lives in dignity," he said.

Gittelson said most conservatives for immigration reform are still trying to figure out whether the president’s executive order will make it easier or more difficult to pass the Dream Act.

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