Maya Rhodan at Time Magazine offers a look at how evangelical Protestants view immigration reform in her recent article, “Evangelicals Battle over ‘Biblical’ Immigration.” According to Rhodan, evangelical Protestants are divided due to competing concerns when it comes to the issue of immigration, and particularly illegal immigration. However, PRRI findings suggest white evangelical Protestants are more united than divided on the issue of immigration reform. PRRI’s 2013 Immigration Survey shows a majority (56 percent) of white evangelical Protestants support a path to citizenship for immigrants currently living in the United States illegally, provided they meet certain requirements. Roughly 11 percent say immigrants who are currently living in the United States illegally should be able to become permanent residents but not citizens, while 30 percent say the United States should identify and deport immigrants living in the country illegally. Other polls from a variety of sources show comparable numbers regarding support for immigration reform.
The Time Magazine article also highlights the sometimes-competing values, which shape attitudes among evangelical Protestants. For instance, while the Bible emphasizes the importance of “welcoming the stranger,” more political and practical concerns often lead evangelical Protestants to value the importance of abiding by the rule of law and securing the borders. PRRI’s 2013 Immigration Survey suggests all these values resonate with white evangelical Protestants, though not quite equally. Nearly two-thirds of white evangelical Protestants say that “following the biblical example of welcoming the stranger” is either an extremely or very important moral guide when considering immigration reform. An even higher percentage of white evangelical Protestants are concerned about the rule of law, with 85 percent saying that enforcing the rule of law is an extremely or very important moral guide to considering immigration reform. However, even among those who say enforcing the rule of law is an extremely or very important value guiding immigration reform, the majority (54 percent) still support providing a path to citizenship for immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally.