Religion plays a key role in American immigration politics.
This should come as no shock, but immigration is President Trump’s signature issue. He campaigned on building a wall that Mexico would pay for. ICE enforcement has ramped up dramatically with the number of daily immigrants arrested up nearly 50% since he took office.
Nearly half a million immigrants in the United States under the temporary protective status program have had their legal protections ended by the Trump administration. Additionally, under Trump directives, the number of visas issued to individuals wanting to come to this country legally was down approximately 13% in 2018. Not to mention that the status of DACA recipients is still very much uncertain.
Using this national debate as a backdrop, it seems helpful to ask some basic questions: Are certain religious groups going to be hurt disproportionately by these immigration policies? What do immigrants who come to the United States look like? What are their racial backgrounds? What are their religious traditions?
The 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election study asked all 64,600 respondents: “Which of these statements best describes you?” and were given the following options:
- Immigrant Citizen
- Immigrant non-citizen
- First Generation
- Second Generation
- Third Generation
The answers to this question paint a fascinating picture of the American population. For instance, nearly 3 in 10 respondents indicated that their family has been in the country for two generations or less. Said another way, 30% of Americans indicate that their great grandparents did not live in the United States.
How does that break down by religious tradition? The above graph displays the differences graphically. Note that Black Protestants, Evangelicals, and Mainline Protestants all have …