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Survey: Most religious Americans support a pathway to citizenship
The strongest support for a pathway to citizenship came from Hispanic Catholics, Hispanics Protestants and black Protestants.
March 21st, 2013
12:01 AM ET

Survey: Most religious Americans support a pathway to citizenship

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – A majority of all major religious groups in the United States, according to a survey released Thursday, support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently living in the country.

From American Jews to Mormons, from Catholics to white evangelical Christians, Robert P. Jones, the CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, said the overwhelming support for a pathway to citizenship has been growing in the last few years and is a noticeable reason many in Congress are warming to the idea.

The strongest support for a pathway to citizenship came from Hispanic Catholics, Hispanics Protestants and black Protestants, according to the poll. More than 70 percent of people who identified with those groups supported the immigration change.

Additionally, more than half of all Jewish Americans (67%), Mormons (63%), white Catholics (62%), white mainline Protestants (61%) and white evangelical Protestants (56%) supported the inclusive immigration policy.

“Having all of the groups on one side of this debate is pretty remarkable,” said Jones.

While Congress’ schedule has been jam packed in 2013, immigration reform has remained a top priority. A group of eight senators has attempted to forge a compromise on the contentious issue and a number of high-profile Republicans who once were tepid about a pathway to citizenship have announced their support.

Just this week Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Republican Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho came out in support of the policy.

“What I think should happen is anyone who is here illegally can come out of the shadows, become legalized in some way, have some legal status, and that status could lead to legal permanent residency and citizenship eventually, but just the same as anybody else who falls into that category,” Labrador told reporters on Wednesday.

Many Republicans have pegged their support of a pathway to citizenship to first securing the nation’s borders.

"I think the conversation needs to start by acknowledging that we aren't going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants," Paul said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.

Religious Americans, more than most groups, have been supportive of immigration reform in the past. Though some movement has been experienced in the last year, Jones said the support that is now being seen for immigration reform on Capitol Hill is primarily because lawmakers are beginning to realize most Americans support an immigration fix.

“Members of Congress, who rely on elections, are paying more attention to the politics of this issue,” Jones said. “What we have here is political reality meeting public support.”

Overall, the poll found that more than 6-in-10 (63%) of Americans said the immigration system should allow a conditional pathway to citizenship for immigrants who came hear illegally.

Although more Democrats (71%) were more supportive, a majority of both Independents (64%) and Republicans (53%) favored Congress initiating a pathway to citizenship.

According to Jones, morals and values are generally the reason that religious Americans were in favor of immigration reform before a great deal of the country.

“We really see strong support for any plan that keeps families together,” Jones said. “Family values shows up very strong here. You have 84% of the country saying this is a very important value.”

Five values in particular, according to the poll, were important among all religious groups when considering immigration reform: "promoting national security (84%), keeping families together (84%), protecting the dignity of every person (82%), ensuring fairness to taxpayers (77%) and enforcing the rule of law (77%).”

Jones said in interviews for the poll the idea of the Golden Rule, of treating others how you would like to be treated, was an idea that was brought up regularly.

“Most world religions have what we tend to call the Golden Rule,” Jones said. “Immigration policy that is fair, that provides reasonable opportunities, that resonates with religious values all the way across the religious spectrum.”

Treating immigration as a moral issue, instead of solely a policy issue, is an argument that religious organizations have long used while lobbying congress for reform. In January, members of the Evangelical Immigration Table told CNN that a primary argument they are making to the White House and Congress is immigration form needs to be a priority because it is a moral imperative.

In addition, religious leaders, particularly Christians, saw the 2012 election, where Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney struggled mightily among Hispanic voters, as the tipping point for reform.

Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission who has long counseled Republican presidents on religious issues, told CNN in January that the 2012 election showed the Republican Party that without the Latino vote, the future was bleak.

According to the poll, most Americans agree with Land. Forty-five percent of all respondents said the Republican Party’s stance on immigration hurt them in the 2012 election.

The telephone poll of 4,500 adults was conducted from March 6, 2013 to March 10, 2013. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Immigration • Politics • Polls

soundoff (492 Responses)
  1. Science

    Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/where-do-morals-come-from/#comments

    Gravity is not up for debate !

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    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet

    Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142250.htm

    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

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    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

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    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418104324.htm

    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

    Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

    Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

    No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

    Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

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    Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

    Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423134037.htm

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    Good stuff !

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

    For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

    Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

    Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
    bears his name as the “God particle.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

    Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
    Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

    Science

    Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

    Make sure to read comments

    April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |

    Breaking News

    NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/18/us/planet-discovery/index.html

    NASA: Mars could have supported life

    Star Dust we are

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWdU_px9ApE&w=640&h=390]

    Peace

    May 3, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  2. Marcia Kaminski

    Dan Gilgoff's farewell Belief Blog invited nones to speak out. "Nun, None or None of the Above" kicks of a weekly blog on April 1 that can be accessed through http://www.godneverhurries.com

    March 25, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  3. check This out

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    March 25, 2013 at 7:07 am |
  4. Reality

    Obviously, the cheap labor pool is currently filled with illegal aliens. Soon it will be filled with robots and computer-controlled machines i.e. do not make matters worse by granting citizenship to 11 million illegal aliens who will not be employable.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:03 am |
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  6. Science

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    It would be NICE......... but
    Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
    The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to defeat materialism, naturalism, evolution, and "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

    Peace

    Please watch what the Discovery Inst-itute is trying to prevent.......................... evolution

    Thanks

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    Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

    Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.

    http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts.htm

    March 23, 2013 at 7:25 am |
  7. obvious

    Those who deny freedom of speech are not worthy of freedom of speech!

    March 23, 2013 at 6:31 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Who is denying freedom of speech? And everyone is entitled to freedom of speech whether or not you agree with them.

      March 23, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • Ken

      When people say something along the lines that atheists are terrible people I'm reminded of this definition:

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      noun
      1 Law a published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation; a written defamation.

      If people want to say things that damage other people's reputations, then they better be prepared to defend their opinion, or shut up.

      March 23, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.