Americans see immigrants more favorably than do Trump, Cruz

Print More
A pro-refugee counter-protester shouts during another group's protest against the United States' acceptance of Syrian refugees at the Washington State capitol in Olympia, Washington on November 20, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/David Ryder

A pro-refugee counter-protester shouts during another group's protest against the United States' acceptance of Syrian refugees at the Washington State capitol in Olympia, Washington on November 20, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/David Ryder

(RNS) The 2016 Republican presidential campaign boils with anti-immigrant rhetoric but candidates’ harsh proposals don’t resonate with most Americans, particularly religious believers and young adults.

A new analysis by the Public Religion Research Institute, released Tuesday (March 29) finds that many reject harsh proposals such as building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, said Dan Cox, director of research for PRRI.

Researchers looked at attitudes toward immigrants, immigration reform and whether there should be a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are already here. They drew from 42,000 interviews conducted for PRRI’s American Values Atlas between April 2015 and early January 2016.

The Cultural Impact of Immigrants by Religious Affiliation. Graphic courtesy of Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI)

The Cultural Impact of Immigrants by Religious Affiliation. Graphic courtesy of Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI)

PPRI found that 50 percent of Americans have a favorable view of newcomers from other countries, saying they strengthen U.S. society rather than threaten “traditional American customs and values” (34 percent).

There are significant religious differences, however, with groups dividing by race and ethnicity.


RELATED STORY: Churches settling refugees against governors’ wishes


Among most minority religious groups — such as Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, as well as many black and Hispanic members of major Christian groups — more than two in three say the growing number of newcomers strengthens American society.

White Christians are less positive.

  • White evangelical Protestants overall are the most likely to view immigrants as a threat (53 percent). Less than a third (32 percent) see newcomers as an asset to America. However, this group is split sharply by age, with 55 percent of young adults favoring newcomers.
  • Among white mainline Protestants and white Catholics, slightly more than four in 10 hold a favorable view of immigrants and roughly the same percentage see a threat.
  • Mormons and non-white Protestants, with the exception of black Christians, registered slightly higher favorable views on newcomers and their cultural impact.

RELATED STORY: 5 reasons Donald Trump has a Mormon problem (COMMENTARY)


The general public in every state except South Dakota favors an immigration reform policy that includes a path to citizenship, the study finds.

  • 62 percent — including most Democrats and Republicans — say it should be allowed if immigrants meet certain requirements.
  • 19 percent want to see undocumented immigrants identified and deported.
  • 15 percent say they should get legal residency but not citizenship.

Partisan politics make a difference, too.

  • Republicans — 32 percent overall don’t see a threat, including 51 percent of young adults (under age 30).
  • Independents — 52 percent view immigrants favorably.
  • Democrats — 63 percent hold favorable views.

But despite differences on the cultural impact of newcomers, Cox said, “there is remarkably broad agreement on the issue of policy.”

Among all those surveyed who say they see newcomers as a threat, only 46 percent favor a path to citizenship and 13 percent say they should be able to become permanent legal residents. Another 37 percent want to see undocumented immigrants deported, according to the report.


RELATED STORYDoes the Bible support Ted Cruz’s views on immigration? (COMMENTARY)


Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have quite similar policy offerings — blocking entry and calling for mass deportations — while Ohio Gov. John Kasich “is more warmly disposed toward reform,” said Cox.

The survey indicates that the campaign rhetoric “doesn’t seem to be moving the needle at all” on changing people’s views, he said.

Still, for those who already agree with the candidates, the rhetoric is “very animating and likely to get people to the polls.”

(Cathy Lynn Grossman is senior national reporter for RNS)

  • Pingback: Americans see immigrants more favorably than do Trump, Cruz - mosaicversemosaicverse()

  • Pingback: Americans see immigrants more favorably than do Trump, Cruz | Christian News Agency()

  • Pingback: Americans see immigrants more favorably than do Trump, Cruz – The Reformed Post()

  • gabriel

    TRUMP’s PORN is the last straw. See Ivanka and Melania Trump posing naked all over the web. Not even gynecologist expose patients during an exam,as these two do. One wonders how religious people still want to vote for TRUMP, “a bastion of Christian values”.

  • Pingback: Americans see immigrants more favorably than do Trump, Cruz – Courtesy Universal One Church Newsfeed – Universal One Church – Universal Church()

  • Abu

    Building a wall and securing the border are apples and oranges. Building a “Great Wall of Trump” would severely hurt the economy.Mexico is a “huge” trading partner and many Americans cross the border daily, weekly to conduct business. Secure the border, stop illegals, stop the flow of drugs.

  • yoh

    A wall would actually keep Mexican migrants in rather than keep them out. Anywhere from 2-3 million of them went back to Mexico since the recession started in 2008. Despite the ignorant ramblings of nativists, illegal aliens do not collect social services or welfare except in the most iextremely indirect ways.

    Republicans are not interested in immigration reform, abiding by laws concerning immigration, nor sane measures regarding them. They want a target for political minded bigotry which won’t cost them votes directly.

  • Abu

    They do collect “social services” . If their kids are born here, they go to government schools, they get all kinds of “free” taxpayer stuff. Free lunches, free medical care, free day care(at school). Plus a host of other free things. That’s more than just “indirect”. Go to the ER in any major city and try telling us this isn’t true?

  • yoh

    Those kids are native born US citizens. They are not immigrants. Citizenship and the rights attached to it are not based on parentage to anyone born here. Their parents only collect benefits through their citizen offspring.

    As for E/Rs, I guess you are a big fan of creating unnecessary public health hazards.

  • If they were born here then they are CITIZENS. That’s not what Yoh was talking about

  • Jon

    Ha – I read the headline and wondered if:

    Americans see immigrants more favorably than they see Trump, Cruz……

    I’d like to see numbers on that. : D

  • Abu

    14th Amendment was to ensure that freed blacks were acknowledged as US Citizens. Nothing more, and it was intended to put an end to the nonsense from Democrats that tried to deny full citizenship to blacks. The nonsense that all people born here are granted automatic US Citizenship is the result of a footnote by Justice Brennan in a SCOTUS decision. It was never the. Majority SCOTUS decision only a footnote.

  • yoh

    1. You dead wrong on that as well. The intent as discussed by Congress when the 14th Amendment citizenship clause was drafted was specifically for citizenship at birth. The text states so clearly and unambiguously. SCOTUS has ruled on such a meaning as well.

    2. What you propose is dangerously ridiculous. You want to grant the government the power to strip citizenship rights of people born here because you dislike their parents. This is how ill informed bigotry destroys the foundation of our nation.

  • yoh

    If you cared about saving money you would not be wasting it on measures which fuel and underground economy and create fiscal boondoggle. But when it comes to immigration measures by conservatives, bigotry takes precedence over common sense and facts.

  • yoh

    Unless they are refugees and asylum seekers. They are legal immigrants yet conservatives want to send them back. More conservative hypocrisy.

  • Everett

    It depends on the definition of who is seeking and what type of verifiable asylum the seeker wishes and that takes more vetting than pointing a finger and making shotgun accusations of hypocrisy.

  • Pingback: Anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric endangers US, says secretary of Homeland Security – Religion News Service()

  • Abu

    The 14th Amendment was only intended to clear up the never ending pattern of post Civil War discrimination against blacks. The South lost the war , bad. However, Democrats still refused to admit their total defeat by the Union. The SCOTUS has made many bad decisions. Such as upholding the Fugitive Slave Act, so don’t even go there.

  • Pingback: Anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric endangers US, says secretary of Homeland Security | CandoGH()

  • yoh

    Calls for discrimination in who gets to claim asylum won’t help you much here. Nor are blanket (and unfounded) accusations about the vetting process refugees and asylum seekers go through.

    The conservative arguments against the current batch of refugees is largely just political pandering to bigotry and a clear willingness to violate Federal law for brownie points with the public.

  • yoh

    You are absolutely wrong. It was wrong the first time you said it, it remains so. Congress very much intended the citizenship clause to mean citizenship at birth. Its meaning was debated in Congress at the time and the plain reading of the text supports it. You have to make stuff up on this subject because both the text and 140+ years of interpretation and application refute your statement.

    That brings me to my second point. You have to be the biggest m0r0n out there to advocate for removing citizenship by birth. It is the most effective part of our immigration system. Plus who in their right mind wants to give the government the power to strip civil liberties to people born in this nation?!

    You are so overcome by malice and bigotry towards parents of natural born US citizens that you would undermine the basis of all of our rights to attack them.