"Never Trump" evangelicals included their names on a New York Times ad to promote immigration and blast President Trump, but a defender of the President says the ad blatantly ignores our borders and rule of law.
The ad, entitled "Immigrants and Immigration Strengthen Us," was timed with the July 4th holiday.
It asks fellow Americans to "engage in a constructive conversation that respects the human dignity of all of our neighbors and welcomes people of all faiths, no matter where you were born."
"I didn't find anything objectionable about the ad at all. I think most Americans would agree with it," responds Dr. Robert Jeffress. "But the issue is not immigration. The real issue is illegal immigration."
The ad was sponsored by the National Immigration Forum, which advocates for the "value of immigrants and immigration" in the United States according to its own website.
Much like the newspaper ad fails to directly address illegal immigration, the NIF website repeatedly refers to "migrants" even when it's criticizing the U.S. Border Patrol's "catch and release" program that is apprehending illegal aliens.
Elsewhere the ad states that "America can be great only if we are good," which Jeffress views as a veiled swipe at President Trump himself.
A vocal segment of "Never Trump" evangelicals is continually criticizing Trump for his views and policies that affect illegal aliens. One ongoing example is Russell Moore, who signed his name to the New York Times ad and has been given op-ed space in prominent newspapers to bash Trump on behalf of Southern Baptists.
Jeffress, meanwhile, took heat from fellow Evangelicals for supporting Trump during the GOP primary. But he now enjoys access to the White House as an advisor, though he has refused to describe his discussions with Trump because they are private.
Reached for comment about the ad, Jeffress points out that the word "illegal" is nowhere in it - even though that is the real issue facing the country.
"Look, I think everybody is in agreement that we need immigration reform," Jeffress says. "But it needs to be a whole package of reforms that need to include, yes, an answer to what we do with DACA recipients."
There is room to be compassionate, he adds, but also to follow through on President Trump's demand for a strengthened border that includes a wall and better security.