New Poll: Evangelical Support For Immigration Reform Remains Robust
For a recording of today’s press call, click here.
March 11, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Support for broad immigration reform from Congress is strong among evangelical Christians, according to a new poll from LifeWay Research, an evangelical research firm.
More than two-thirds of the poll’s 1,000 respondents expressed support for reform that both boosts border security and provides undocumented immigrants an opportunity to earn legal status and eventual citizenship. Poll results are available online.
The following are quotes from local pastors and national evangelical leaders, across denominations and communities, who discussed the findings on a press call today:
Ed Stetzer, Executive Director, LifeWay Research:
“The survey results show that evangelicals are supportive of immigration reform, yet also wary about some of what that might include. Law and order seems to matter more, but families and faith issues seem to move evangelicals into the pro-immigration reform column. Considering the current political climate and the assumptions in the current political discourse, evangelicals are surprisingly open to immigration reforms.”
Evelyn Chaparro, Spanish Pastor, The River Church, Brandon, Fla.; President, Radio Genesis, Tampa:
“The stories that I hear day to day from those I pastor and from the listening audience of the radio station are very real and sometimes very heart-wrenching. There is real fear and insecurity, and that dominates the lives of the people I serve on a daily basis. We need to speak for those that can’t, and we need to recommend and support immigration reform consistent with biblical principles. Latinos and other ethnic minorities have particularly strong views on this topic. The results of this survey help us see where we agree and where we still need to work.”
Shirley Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“It’s very interesting to see the alignment for younger evangelicals, which includes strong support for a pathway toward legal status and citizenship. Young evangelicals recognize that immigrants are people who share our values. I think that the future is with this group of young people, who want to see reform sooner rather than later. Not only is diversity essential for learning today, but it will only grow in importance. Our colleges and our student bodies want to be in the midst of the emerging diversity conversation because it prepares everyone for a global future.”
Kevin McBride, Senior Pastor, Raymond Baptist Church, Raymond, N.H.:
“These results are important and encouraging to me as a pastor to continue to help our congregations see that Biblical principles do apply to current issues and challenge people to be involved. As a pastor I see this issue as a biblical mandate for me in the context of helping the poor and disadvantaged in society. Evangelicals are not as one-sided as sometimes we’re made out to be on this issue. People in our churches want to know how Scripture applies to what we’re seeing in the daily news.”
Ryan Perz, Lead Pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Orange City, Iowa:
“I’m personally concerned about immigration reform because of how it affects the community I live in. If you come and visit my community, it’s filled with many immigrant neighbors, working very hard … they’re a vital part of the community. As a pastor and a lover of Christ, I want to be obedient to his command to love my neighbor as myself.
“The polling results show that any candidate has a lot to gain and very little to lose by supporting immigration reform. As potential candidates come to visit, I hope they’ll take note of these findings.”
Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition:
“Hispanic evangelicals are glad the new research by LifeWay Research shows broad and diverse evangelical support for commonsense immigration reform. Our prayer is that Congress can follow the example of this evangelical coalition and pass immigration reform this year.”
Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief:
“For years, many evangelicals have been responding to immigrants in their communities with compassion and by calling for immigration reform. What this new polling shows is widespread support for immigration reform among people in the pews. Evangelicals believe there is an urgency for Congress to reform our laws because they personally know immigrants who are affected, or they may be immigrants themselves. We hope Congress, instead of being swayed by the minority, takes up immigration reform that a majority of evangelicals across the country supports.”