June 18, 2014

​Evangelicals See 8-point Drop in Support for Immigration Reform

©2014 Religion News Service

of every religious group except for white evangelical Protestants support a
path toward citizenship for undocumented immigrants, according to a poll released June 10.

The poll from the Public Religion Research
Institute and the Brookings Institution shows that support for immigration
reform among white evangelicals has seen an 8-point drop over the past year, to
48 percent.

Among white mainline Protestants, 58 percent
are supportive, a proportion topped by minority Protestants at 62 percent,
Catholics at 63 percent and religiously unaffiliated Americans at 68 percent.

The drop in white evangelical support comes
as Americans’ overall views about immigrants have grown more positive, the poll
shows. It also counters the “fairly steady public drumbeat from
evangelical leaders” who have lobbied for a path to citizenship, said Robert P.
Jones, CEO of PRRI.

But evangelicals are not only religious
people, but also overwhelmingly Republican, Jones noted, and got a different
set of signals from Republicans in Congress who shelved immigration reform six
months ago.

“The legislative steam has run out on this
issue,” he said.

The poll also found that concerns about the
nation’s moral fiber rank low compared with other priorities for all but
three (often overlapping) groups: conservatives, Republicans and regular

Every ideological, racial and political group
ranked job creation highest. The deficit and health care took second. But only
Republicans, conservatives and churchgoers considered “dealing with the moral
breakdown of the country” the third-most important issue for Congress and
President Obama to address.

The poll of 1,538 adults, supported by the
Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, was conducted between
April 7 and 27 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage