According to a new survey.
The Public Religion Research Institute poll found that 62% of Americans think there should be a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally, provided they meet certain conditions. Although Americans’ views on the issue have changed little since 2013, when the same question was asked — at the time, 63% supported it — the views of white evangelicals have changed dramatically.
Less than half of white evangelicals — 47% — support a path to citizenship, a nearly double-digit drop from the 56% who supported it in 2013. Among white evangelicals who attend church weekly, support is even lower, 45%, and has dropped 13 points from 2013 (58%).
White Protestants (59%), Black Protestants (75%), White Catholics (54%) and Hispanic Catholics (70%) all support a path to citizenship.
“With the exception of white evangelical Protestants, the majority of all religious groups support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants,” PRRI said in an analysis.
Presidents Bush and Obama have supported a path to citizenship, as has President Biden. President Trump has also backed a path to citizenship, though his plan focuses only on young immigrants living in the country illegally.
On another question, nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) support giving immigrants who were illegally brought to the United States as children – the “dreamers” – access to citizenship. White evangelicals (47%) and Republicans (44%) are the only groups that do not support such a plan.
Meanwhile, white evangelicals are also the religious demographic least likely to agree with the statement that “increasing numbers of newcomers from other countries are strengthening American society.” Only 35% of white evangelicals agree with this statement, compared to 46% of white Catholics, 46% of white mainline Protestants, 69% of black Protestants and 61% of Hispanic Catholics. Among all Americans, 56% agree with the statement.
The survey was released on February 3.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Andrey Popov
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and current affairs for 20 years. His stories have appeared in the Baptist Press, Christianity today, The Christian Post, the Sheet-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.