Conservative leaders at the event also heaped a cold dose of political reality on top of their "do the right thing" mantra. A good-faith effort to fix the nation's immigration system could provide political good will for Republicans even though President Barack Obama is ultimately the one who will sign the bill, they argued. Failing to help get it through could condemn the party to irrelevance.
"A lot of what happens in Washington is because of enlightened self-interest. And it should be clear to those in the Republican Party who opposed immigration reform that if they want to continue to be a contender for national leadership in this country, they're going to have to change their ways on immigration reform ... in order to be competitive in the Hispanic community," Land said. "We'll take their votes whether it's for the right reason or the wrong reason, as long as they vote the right way."