Exploring American Attitudes To The nation’s acceptance of Afghan, Ukrainian and other refugees confirms how intertwined religion, race and politics are in the United States.
“For example, Hispanic evangelicals, black Protestants, and white non-evangelical Protestants are more likely than white evangelical Protestants to say taking in refugees should be very important,” the Pew Research Center said in a Sept. 19 poll analysis of the partisan composition of those religious groups, with white evangelicals much more likely to identify as Republicans than Democrats.”
Pew said the research was conducted to track attitudes towards refugees in the face of the 2021 Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the violence and social upheaval in Central America and the war in Ukraine.
“Against this background About seven in 10 Americans (72%) say accepting civilian refugees from countries where people are trying to escape violence and war should be a very or fairly important goal of immigration policy in the United States. But only 28% say this should be one very important priority. … And opinions on this question vary by party, race and ethnicity, and other factors.”
Religion was a telling factor when respondents were asked about the importance of hosting civilian refugees fleeing violence and war in other countries.
Among Protestants, African American and Hispanic Evangelicals were the most likely to say it is very important at 30% and 40%, respectively, and somewhat important at 49% and 40%, respectively. 19% of white evangelicals said it was very important, while 49% responded that it was somewhat important. White non-evangelicals responded 26% (very much) and 46% (somewhat), the poll found.
A total of 25% Protestants said it was important to welcome refugees and 47% said it was quite important.
Among Catholics, 28% of Hispanics responded that welcoming refugees was very important compared to 22% of whites. Overall, 28% of Catholics agreed with this answer, while 44% felt it was quite important.
“Hispanic Catholics are almost twice as likely as white Catholics to say that welcoming refugees should be a very important policy goal.”
In his analysis, Pew said it uncovered some differences among Catholics on the issue. “Hispanic Catholics are almost twice as likely as White Catholics to say that welcoming refugees should be a very important policy goal for the US (39% vs. 22%).”
When asked To rate the importance of taking in refugees, 30% of unaffiliated Americans said very important, compared to 42% who answered somewhat important.
“Many religious leaders, including Pope Francis, have long advocated compassion for migrants and refugees, with some Christians citing biblical quotations on the issue. But some Christian subgroups are more likely than others to say the US should prioritize taking in refugees,” the report said.
Partisanship was also a major factor in how Americans responded to the poll. “About four in 10 Democrats and independents leaning toward the Democratic Party (41%) say taking in refugees should be a very important policy goal, but only 13% of Republicans and GOP supporters agree,” they said Analysis.
“Partisan differences on this issue are generally larger than demographic differences.”
“There are party differences question are generally larger than demographic differences. However, women are slightly more likely than men to say that welcoming refugees trying to escape violence should be a very important goal for the US (32% vs. 24%). And Hispanic adults (38%) — nearly half of whom are immigrants themselves — are more likely than White (25%), Black (30%), or Asian American (26%) to express this opinion.
Pew added that there are significant differences among Hispanics on the refugee issue. “Hispanics born outside the US are more likely than Hispanics born in the US to say that welcoming civilian refugees should be a key US policy goal (44% vs. 33%). Similarly, those who say their Hispanic identity is extremely or very important to how they feel about themselves are much more likely to say it should be a very important policy goal than those who say their Hispanic identity is less important to them (45% vs. 27%).”
However, education and income did not prove to be significant dividing lines in Americans’ response to the survey question. Age was also not a decisive factor.
“We could be tomorrow’s asylum seekers”
With refugee numbers rising around the world, racism remains a factor in where and how quickly they are admitted