It took years for Vincent Foster, president of the Miami chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR), which represents politically conservative LGBT Americans, to become a vocal supporter of the GOP. “It was actually after I came down to Florida and started a dual-degree program in political science and philosophy that I realized that I’m not a Democrat just because I’m black and gay,” Foster says. “People think that it’s totally inconsistent and illogical; I argue the contrary. A lot of Republican values are basic American values.”
I have great, great sympathy for people that are leaving a country with political turmoil, where they don’t have the economic opportunities.
To Foster, all politics is about compromise—and this includes his personal stance on immigration reform. “You either have to give or take, in order to deal with a situation that you are ideologically opposed to,” he says, noting that his views are his own, not that of the LCR. As the son of a legal Jamaican immigrant, Foster is fundamentally opposed to a pathway to citizenship for people who entered the United States without permission. At the same time, he understands what motivates undocumented individuals from Central and South America to flee poverty and violence. “I have great, great sympathy for people that are leaving a country with political turmoil, where they don’t have the economic opportunities,” he says. Still, Foster believes that new rules need to be set, as well as enforced.
“We do have a limit on how many people we can take in,” he explains. “I would love to see a situation where we could first and foremost secure the border. We also need to ensure that there are no jobs for illegal immigrants.” To Foster, that means that even those who work in low-paying agricultural or meatpacking jobs would need to have permission to be in the country through a new kind of process or temporary visa.
But for those children who were brought here as infants, toddlers, or adolescents with families, he hedges. “Well, are we going to send them back, too?” Foster asks. “I don’t think that’s feasible. I think it’s fair, but I don’t think it’s feasible. I support a path to citizenship, but not before we secure our borders.”