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

Supporters of immigration reform gathered near the U.S. Capitol on June 25, 2013, during a week of daily prayer gatherings organized by the Evangelical Immigration Table. RNS Photo by Adelle M. Banks

Supporters of immigration reform gathered near the U.S. Capitol on June 25, 2013, during a week of daily prayer gatherings organized by the Evangelical Immigration Table. RNS Photo by Adelle M. Banks

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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 churchgoers.

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 points.



  1. these so called polls are ridiculous 99.9% of the Americans living paycheck to paycheck do not want amnesty or reform only deportation. Americans have been sold out to corporate greed. if corporations cared about people they wouldn’t outsource our jobs. americans unite vote out all bought and paid for politicans. vote independent. no more two party system destroying the middle class. and working for the corporations. impeach the criminal Obama.before its to late. wake up sheeple.

  2. i have seen with my own eyes these illegal aliens rob steal join gangs and don’t contribute to our society in any way. just come here for free everything they can milk out of our system. take jobs and reduce wages for Americam people. and our corporate government bought and paid for could care less about the people who elected them. how many Americans are murdered , raped, and destroyed by illegal invaders before the people act.?

  3. my company hires illegals like the rest. Tyson, cagill. , coca cola , McDonald’s, Walmart, Microsoft , Apple you name any corporation that doesnt hire illegals are mostly full of it if they don’t do it here they do it overseas. all because of greed. sorry Americas middle class welcome to poverty.

  4. Racism and calculated ignorance trumps religious appeals.

    David, if your job and skill-set could be replaced by a person of minimal education and English language skills, you had no hope to achieve middle class from the outset. If you want to empower big companies in exploiting cheap labor, go ahead and make it more difficult to stay in this country legally. Restrictive and draconian immigration policies don’t protect jobs, it just creates a bigger underground economy labor pool.

    The days when menial unskilled labor ensured a single income middle class lifestyle are gone. Its death began when poor and working class conservatives started attacking organized labor.

  5. I see the word “evangelical” used by writers often. I very rarely see that word defined? There seems to be an assumption held by many writers and researchers that “evangelicals” are a homogeneous group!

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