1 And Who Is My Neighbor? Religion and Immigration Policy Attitudes BENJAMIN R. KNOLL Department of Political Science University of Iowa This study explores immigration reform as a possible new moral issue upon which American religious elites and organizations take public positions. It is argued that religion is a key independent variable necessary for understanding the determinants of public attitudes regarding immigration policy. Theoretical expectations are formed from the ethnoreligious, religious restructuralism, and minority marginalization frameworks. Quantitative evidence is presented, that demonstrates that those who attend religious services more frequently are more likely to support liberal immigration reform policies. Members of minority religions, notably Jews and Latter-day Saints, are also more likely to empathize with the plight of undocumented immigrants and support liberal immigration reform measures. Immigration reform has emerged as one of the more salient political issues in recent years. At the urging of President Bush, Congress attempted to pass sweeping immigration reform legislation in both 2006 and Proposals ranged from a hard-line mass deportation of all undocumented immigrants to more comprehensive reform measures that would provide a path to citizenship for those currently in the United States. These congressional debates provoked heated and passionate discussion among the public, which ultimately prevented representatives from being able to reach a consensus on the issue, dooming the various reform proposals. While several valuable studies investigating the determinants of attitudes toward immigration policy have been published (see Citrin et al. 1997; Hood and Morris 1998; Hood, Morris, and Shirkey 1997, e.g.), religion as a key explanatory variable in these studies has been either marginalized or ignored. There are important reasons, however, to predict that religion is important to understanding immigration attitudes. Some of the more forceful and vocal opposition to hardline immigration measures has recently come from the leaders of various American religious organizations. It has long been customary for religious leaders to take public stands on moral issues like abortion and homosexual marriage. The involvement of these same leaders and organizations in the immigration issue, however, has left observers and commentators speculating as to whether or not immigration now qualifies as a moral issue as well. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to address the virtual absence of religion in the literature on immigration attitudes and investigate why and how religion might play a substantive role in the formation of attitudes regarding immigration reform policy. RELIGION AND POLITICS Research has previously shown that at the most basic level, an individual s religious beliefs can play an important role in shaping one s core values and worldviews. In turn, these can Acknowledgment: Replication data are available from the author upon request. Previous versions of this article were presented at the 2008 Midwest Political Science Association Conference in Chicago, IL and the 2008 Symposium of Religion and Politics at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI. Many thanks to Rene Rocha of the University of Iowa, David Campbell at the University of Notre Dame, and three anonymous reviewers for their invaluable feedback, comments, and suggestions. Correspondence should be addressed to Benjamin Knoll, 341 Schaeffer Hall, Department of Political Science, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (2009) 48(2): C 2009 The Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
2 314 JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION affect political ideology and preferences (Feldman 1988). Welch and Leege (1988), for instance, demonstrate that an individual s perception of the nature of God influences one s opinions on various matters of public policy. Bolce and de Maio (1999) show that one s level of affect toward evangelicals exerts an independent effect on one s partisan preferences. Along the same lines, Kohut et al. (2000), Layman (2001), Leege et al. (2002), and Olson and Green (2006) all provide evidence that religious factors are becoming decisive determinants of partisan preferences in the United States. These same determinants have also shown to be significant in studies investigating both political participation (Miller and Shanks 1996) as well as citizen activism (Verba, Schlozman, and Brady 1995). Furthermore, religion has also been shown to strongly affect entire U.S. presidential elections (Campbell 2007; Green 2007; Green, Rozell, and Wilcox 2006; Guth et al. 2006). Other scholars have investigated the effect of religion on individual attitudes toward various moral public policy issues. These issues have been further classified as dealing with either (1) social-justice issues or (2) matters of personal morality (see Guth et al. 1997). Concerning personal morality issues, studies have shown that religious conservatism and attitudes about doctrinal orthodoxy are significant predictors of attitudes toward abortion (Leege 1983), homosexual marriage (Wood and Bartkowski 2004), and euthanasia (Hamil-Luker and Smith 1998). Research has also extended these findings into broader social-justice morality issues and shown that attitudes toward the environment (Guth et al. 1995), the economy (Barker and Carman 2000), and even the Israel/Middle East conflict (Mayer 2004) have all been influenced by individual religious beliefs as well. This study seeks to contribute to this area of the literature. With the involvement of religious elites in the public debate, as will be described in more detail, immigration may very well now be classified as another social-justice morality issue, subject to individual religious influences. What follows is a broad examination of how religion might exert this effect on immigration policy attitudes. Ethnoreligious Determinants of Immigration Attitudes The ethnoreligious perspective (Green 2007) is one lens through which the influence of religion on individual attitudes can be understood. This theoretical perspective views particular religious tradition as a key factor in the theoretical link between religion and individual attitudes. If this view is accurate, religious tradition membership should be an important independent variable that shapes policy attitudes. Indeed, Kellstedt and Green (1993:55) argue that there are intrinsic differences in belief, practice, and commitment, even for individuals with minimal religiosity. Thus, [one] would expect denominational preference to influence political attitudes and behavior. Given that the religious affiliation of many Americans is now determined by deliberate choice rather than early socialization (Green and Guth 1993), religious tradition affiliation is even more likely to be associated with political policy preferences. Wald, Owen, and Hill (1988) support this perspective by arguing that the ideology of a particular church affects the individual political ideologies of its members (see also Jelen 1993). One would thus expect particular religious tradition to make a difference on one s public policy preferences, including immigration policy. One process by which this may occur is through elite cues and direction from religious leaders on the matter. Several studies have investigated the effect of the behavior of religious clergy on parishioner political attitudes and behavior. Djupe and Grant (2001), for instance, find that individual religiosity can lead to more political participation not only through learning civic skills in one s church but also by being specifically recruited by church leaders to engage in political purposes. Djupe and Gilbert (2002) explore the nature of public political statements by clergy as well as their personal motivations for making such statements (see also Djupe and Gilbert 2003; Smidt 2004). More pertinent to our current investigation, Campbell and Monson (2003) follow Zaller (1992) and demonstrate that church
3 AND WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? 315 members, specifically Latter-day Saints, adopt the policy preferences of their leaders when there is consensus from those leaders on a particular issue. It is thus possible that members of religious traditions and denominations whose leaders officially and/or publicly endorse a certain type of immigration reform should be more likely to support those same reform policies. An in-depth investigation was therefore conducted on public statements regarding immigration by American religious elites. This investigation revealed that the leaders of several major religious traditions have officially come out in support of liberal immigration reform measures, specifically including an eventual path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Consider the following examples. Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church has taken perhaps the strongest stand on immigration reform measures. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops made an official announcement in 2000 (as reported on their website): We bishops commit ourselves and all the members of our church communities to continue the work of advocacy for laws that respect the human rights of immigrants and preserve the unity of the immigrant family...we join with others of good will in a call for legalization opportunities for the maximum number of undocumented persons, particularly those who have built equities and otherwise contributed to their communities (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops 2002). Furthermore, in 2006 Cardinal Roger Mahony publicly denounced a punitive House immigration bill, HR4437, and instructed the priests of the parishes under his jurisdiction to disobey the law were it to become enacted (Pomfret 2006). Later that fall, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to President Bush urging him to veto the Secure Fence Act (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops 2006), which Congress passed after failing to agree on an immigration reform compromise. Evangelical Protestants Richard Land, head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, announced in April 2006 that although we have an obligation to support the government and the government s laws for conscience [sic] sake (Romans 13:7)...As citizens of the Lord s heavenly Kingdom and members of local colonies of that Kingdom (congregations of Christians), we also have a divine mandate to act redemptively and compassionately toward those who are in need (Land 2006). He went on to endorse a guest-worker program for the undocumented immigrants currently in the United States with an option for earned citizenship at the end of a four-year period. Mainline Protestants The website of the Episcopalian Migration Ministries includes a statement from the Presiding Bishop: To make enforcement a central provision of our immigration policy not only fails to honor our historic tradition of offering refuge to the oppressed, but also denies the call of Christ to welcome the stranger as if we were receiving Him as our guest (Griswold 2006). A joint statement of the head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service supports a plan to provide a path to permanence for individuals currently residing and working in the United States as well as their families (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 2007). The websites of the United Methodist Church (Gilbert 2007) and the Presbyterian Church (USA) (Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Immigration Issues 2006) have similar policy statements. As can be seen, there appears to be a general consensus among elites from dominant American religious traditions favoring some form of earned legalization program. This consensus involves
4 316 JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION elites representing nearly all major categories of religious traditions, including both evangelical and mainline Protestants, whose membership makes up more than 70 percent of the American population (a notable exception being the black Protestant tradition). 1 If the ethnoreligious elite cues theory is valid, we should expect that membership in these various religious traditions, the leaders of which have taken public stands in favor of liberal immigration reform policies, should translate into support for comprehensive immigration reform policies as well. This results in our first hypothesis: H 1 : Mainline Protestants, evangelical Protestants, and Catholics are more likely to support liberal immigration reform policies than those of other affiliations or those with no religious affiliation. Religious Restructuralism Determinants of Immigration The religious restructuralism perspective is a different lens through which religion could affect immigration policy attitudes. In contrast to the ethnoreligious perspective, this view predicts that individual religious commitment and behavior, not necessarily religious tradition, are the more accurate mechanisms of the influence of religion on political behavior and attitudes (Green 2007). Welch and Leege (1988), for example, provide evidence for this explanation in showing that devotional style, including frequency of worship service attendance among Catholics, is a significant predictor of attitudes toward a number of public policy issues and political ideology. Wuthnow (1988) and Hunter (1991) both argue that there is a separation in contemporary American religious behavior between traditionalists and modernists and that traditionalists are more faithful in the normative religious practices, such as church attendance and worship. Ammerman (1997) further argues that individual religious tradition has lost much of its explanatory power, as Americans now move freely among the different denominations and switch affiliations often throughout their lives. The behavioral view has also been supported by Layman (1997), who argues that the distinction between more or less religious behaviors is just as important as the distinction of denominational affiliation in explaining how faith is connected to voting behavior. More recently, Green (2007) demonstrates that individual religious behavior had more of an impact on vote choice in the 2004 presidential election than individual religious tradition. The previous section explored the possibility that individual religious affiliation might be a significant independent determinant of attitudes toward immigration policy. It was established that a majority of the leaders of the major religious traditions in the United States have publicly supported liberal immigration reform in one form or another, often citing biblical admonitions to care for those in need and to welcome the stranger among us. Given the fact that a majority of Americans do not support liberal immigration reform measures, it leads to the possibility that the explanation must take into account the religious behavioral level of individuals within those denominations. Those who attend worship services more frequently are also likely to be those who hold deeper religious convictions 2 (see Lee 2002) and thus are also more likely to value the directions and endorsements of their church s leaders. These individuals may also be more likely to follow elite cues (Zaller 1992) and internalize the policy positions of their church s leaders when they make 1 The statistics on religion and immigration attitudes cited in this study are derived from the 2006 Pew Immigration Survey described in Table 1. Sampling weights are also employed throughout to account for oversampling of several metropolitan areas in the survey. 2 There are, of course, several other (and arguably superior) ways that individual religiosity can be measured. Frequency of church attendance was unfortunately the only question asked in the survey employed in this study to measure individual religious behavior. Mockabee, Monson, and Grant (2001), however, provide evidence indicating that church attendance or scripture reading are normally adequate proxy variables for religious commitment.
5 AND WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? 317 public pronouncements on immigration reform. This would result in the adoption of more liberal immigration policy preferences. This theoretical prediction results in the second hypothesis: H 2 : Mainline Protestants, evangelical Protestants, and Catholics who attend religious services more frequently are more likely to support liberal immigration reform policies than those who attend less frequently. Religious Marginalization Determinants of Immigrations Attitudes An alternative theoretical link between religion and immigration attitudes is derived from the religious marginalization perspective. This view hypothesizes that religious minority groups have empathy for other minority groups and are thus more supportive of minority policies (Allport 1979; Betz 1994). This is because groups that have been marginalized by society through political or social discrimination feel a sense of shared experience with other marginalized groups. This theory is supported by Fetzer (1998, 2000), who applies it specifically to religion and ethnicity. He shows that in the United States, France, and Germany, members of minority religions are more likely to support pro-immigrant governmental policies. The minority marginalization perspective could also theoretically extend to American attitudes toward immigration reform. Individuals affiliating with minority religions, who have often been subject to both direct and indirect religious discrimination (both historically and contemporarily), may be more supportive of liberal immigration policies. For the purposes of this study, minority religions are defined as any religion with membership of less than 5 percent of the U.S. population. These include Jews, Latter-day Saints, and other, which includes Hinduism, Buddhism, Pagan, Jehovah s Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventist, and others. 3 It is important to note that the leaders of many of these minority religions have not taken official public stands on immigration reform legislation, and thus no predictions can be made as far as elite cues and the religious restructuralism theories are concerned. Instead, members of these religions may be more supportive of liberal immigration policies out of a feeling of shared marginalization with undocumented immigrants. The Jewish tradition, for example, represents one such minority religious group. The American Jewish Committee has routinely and consistently taken public stands in support of liberal immigration reform measures. Their website states that [a]ccording to Jewish tradition, strangers are to be welcomed and valued, as we were once strangers in the land of Egypt (American Jewish Committee 2002). Also, Gideon Aranoff, President and CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, has expressed support for comprehensive immigration reform and said that the same anti-immigrant arguments being made today have traditionally been used against Jews as well (Aranoff 2006). Furthermore, many LDS faithful today have served proselyting missions during which they are often socially marginalized by the communities that they serve in. As American citizens, they are also often marginalized by anti-mormon sentiments that may exist in their own communities or as reported in the national media. For instance, a recent Pew survey found that nearly a third of Americans have an unfavorable view of Mormons and that 25 percent would be less likely to vote for a Mormon presidential candidate (Keeter and Smith 2007). It follows that the marginalization hypothesis could lead members of these and other minority faiths to be more likely to espouse higher levels of support for undocumented immigrants. This then leads to the third hypothesis: 3 Although qualifying by this criterion, Muslims and Greek/Russian Orthodox members will be excluded from this study due to the shortage of respondents in the survey (see Table 1). Without more respondents, any results would be largely idiosyncratic.
6 318 JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION H 3 : Members of minority religions, specifically Jews, Latter-day Saints, and other, are more likely to support liberal immigration reform policies than those of other religious affiliations. METHODOLOGY To test the effect of religion on immigration policy attitudes, this study conducts a multivariate analysis of data from the 2006 Immigration Survey carried out by the Pew Research Center and Pew Hispanic Center. This survey was conducted from February 8 through March 7, 2006 (see Table 1 for more information). Dependent Variable The survey asks respondents a series of three descriptive questions, which allow for a more nuanced view of the respondent s immigration reform preferences: 1. Should illegal immigrants be required to go home, or should they be granted some kind of legal status that allows them to stay here? a) If the respondent answers required to go home they are then asked: Should it be possible for some illegal immigrants to remain in the United States under a temporary worker program under the condition that they would eventually go home, or don t you think so? b) If the respondent answers granted some kind of legal status they are then asked: Should they be allowed to stay only as temporary workers who must eventually return to their home countries, or should it be possible for them to stay in the United States permanently? From these responses, a three-level ordinal variable was created, assuming that the reform measures could be conceptualized as being more or less liberal, mass deportation being least liberal and earned legalization being most liberal. 0 Respondent favors simple deportation (answered required to go home in question 1 and don t think so to question 1a) 1 Respondent favors a guest-worker program (answered required to go home in question 1 and temporary worker program in question 1a; answered granted some kind of legal status in question 1 and temporary worker program... eventually return in question 1a) 4 2 Respondent favors an earned legalization (liberal/comprehensive) program (answered granted some kind of legal status in question 1 and possible for them to stay in the United States permanently in question 1b) After dropping the missing values, which account for about 11 percent of the sample, approximately 27 percent of the respondents favored mass deportation, 33 percent favored a guest-worker program, and 40 percent favored earned legalization (see Table 1). 4 As a sensitivity test, alternative models were estimated using a four-point ordinal dependent variable in which the two temporary guest-worker options were not combined as they are in the 1 variable category. The coefficients of the key independent variables were not appreciably altered in either significance or direction.
7 AND WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? 319 Table 1: Descriptive statistics of church attendance and religious affiliation Frequency of Church Attendance Religious Tradition Immigration Reform Preferences N Weighted % N Weighted % N Weighted % Never % Protestant 3, % Deport all 1, % Seldom % Roman Catholic 1, % Guest worker 1, % Few times a year 1, % Jewish % Earned legalization 2, % Once or twice a month % Mormon % Don t know/refused 692 Once a week 1, % Orthodox Greek/Russian 40.7% More than once a week % Islam/Muslim 35.7% Don t know/refused 141 Other % No religion/atheist % Don t know/refused 199 Data derived from the 2006 Immigration Survey carried out by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted February 8 March 7, N = 6,003. The survey oversampled metropolitan areas with higher Latino and immigrant populations; Chicago, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Raleigh- Durham, and Washington, DC account for two-thirds of the responses. Percentages are weighted to account for this oversampling and exclude the don t know/refused category. The Pew Research Center bears no responsibility for the interpretations presented or conclusions reached in this study.
8 320 JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION Independent Variables The survey also includes measures of individual religious tradition as well as frequency of worship attendance. The first hypothesis predicts that individual religious tradition matters, and that Catholics, mainline Protestants, and evangelical Protestants will be more likely to report liberal immigration policy preferences. The second hypothesis predicts that tradition matters, but is dependent upon frequency of worship service attendance; Catholics and Protestants who attend more often should be more likely to support liberal immigration reform measures. The third hypothesis predicts that those who affiliate with minority religions will also be more likely to embrace more liberal immigration policy preferences. The worship service attendance variable for H 2 is a six-point ordinal variable (coded 1 6) ranging from never attending services to attending more than once per week. The religious tradition variables are dummy variables, which indicate that the respondent claimed affiliation either as a Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jew, Latter-day Saint, or other (which, when asked for further specificity, included Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, Jehovah s Witnesses, and Seventh- Day Adventist, among others) (see Table 1). The Pew survey unfortunately did not separate out the Protestant category into the commonly recognized mainline/evangelical/black Protestant divisions, so proxy variables were created for each by interacting the Protestant category with born again (for evangelical Protestant) and also black race (for black Protestant). 5 Each major religious tradition variable was then interacted with the frequency of worship service attendance and included in the model to test H 2, the religious restructuralism hypothesis. Control Variables The statistical analysis includes a number of control variables derived from other studies investigating the determinants of attitudes toward immigration. Several socioeconomic variables are included as standard controls, but many have shown to be significant independent determinants in previous studies. For example, it has been demonstrated that women (Hughes and Tuch 2003), younger individuals (Wilson 1996), and those with higher levels of education (Espenshade and Calhoun 1993; Hoskin and Mishler 1983) are more likely to view immigrants more positively. Also, as immigration is very much a racially charged issue, dummy variables for Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and mixed racial status are included. Two ordinal variables are included measuring both partisanship and ideology. It is anticipated that due to the historical and contemporary emphasis that the Democratic Party has placed on minority rights, liberals and Democrats will be more likely to support liberal immigration reform measures (Hero and Tolbert 1995; Swain 1995). Also included is a dummy variable indicating if the respondent specifies that he or she is not a citizen of the United States. It is anticipated that these noncitizens are more likely to support liberal immigration measures as they themselves would hope to benefit from such policies. This variable is also interacted with the Hispanic ethnicity variable to examine the attitudes of Hispanic noncitizens as well as noncitizens of other ethnicities. The economic competition hypothesis (Espenshade and Calhoun 1993; Hood, Morris, and Shirky 1997; Starr and Roberts 1982) posits that those with lower incomes, those who perceive the economy negatively, and those concerned with protecting native jobs will be less likely to support liberal immigration reform measures because it could increase competition for low-income jobs and opportunities for employment. Variables are therefore included representing total family 5 These proxies are obviously imperfect, as not all evangelical Protestants describe themselves as born again, nor do all black Protestants consider themselves black Protestants. It is believed to be the best option available, however, given the limitations of the data.
9 AND WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? 321 income, membership in labor unions, and perception of both personal and national economic conditions. Four additional controls are included to test and control for the racial threat and social contact hypotheses. The racial threat hypothesis (Giles and Buckner 1993; Hood and Morris 1998; Meier and Stewart 1991) predicts that higher levels of racial diversity will lead to increased interracial tension and animosity. The social contact theory (Oliver and Wong 2003; Welch et al. 2001), on the other hand, predicts that increased intergroup contact exerts the opposite effect and that more contact leads to increased levels of familiarity and intergroup toleration. The percent foreign-born population in the respondent s county (2000 census) will be included in the model, as well as other indicators included in the survey of intergroup interaction. Respondents were asked how often they come into contact with those who speak little or no English, how many recent immigrants they perceive to live in their area, and whether or not they have friends or relatives who are recent immigrants. 6 These questions are able to provide a more nuanced test of actual intergroup interaction and affinity toward immigrants. Finally, a variable is included indicating whether or not the respondent lives in a U.S.-Mexico border state, namely, California, Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas, as immigration attitudes are likely to be different for those living along the border and experiencing the effects of undocumented immigration first-hand on a daily basis. Method and Interpretation The level of analysis is the individual survey respondent. Because of the nature of the dependent variable, the data will be analyzed using a generalized ordered logit estimator 7 (Williams 2006), weighted to account for the oversampling of certain geographic areas in the survey (see Table 1). Standard errors are also clustered by geographic region due to the possibility that unobserved effects might create correlation among those who live in the same major metropolitan area. Coefficients produced from the generalized ordered logit model are interpreted the same as binary logit coefficients where the categories of the dependent variable have been collapsed into two categories. The coefficients for Models 1 and 3 are thus the likelihood of preferring a guest-worker or earned citizenship policy over immediate deportation, whereas the coefficients reported in Models 2 and 4 indicate the likelihood of indicating a preference for earned citizenship over immediate deportation or a guest-worker program. For brevity s sake in the discussion section, a positive coefficient in either category will sometimes be referred to as more liberal immigration policy preferences. Finally, the predicted probabilities of each variable are also reported, which represent the probability of supporting a guest-worker or legalization proposal over an immediate deportation option (Models 1 and 3) or for supporting an eventual legalization policy over a guest-worker or immediate deportation policy (Models 2 and 4), as the corresponding variables move from their minimum to maximum values, holding all other variables constant at their mean. 6 It should be noted that there is a possibility of endogeneity between individual contact with non-english speakers, having friends who are immigrants, and immigration policy preferences. Removing these variables from the models, however, does not appreciably alter the results of the key independent variables in significance, direction, or magnitude. 7 The models were originally estimated with a standard ordinal logit method, but the models failed a test of the ordinal logistic proportional odds assumption, resulting in the use of a generalized ordinal logit estimator. As explained in Williams (2006), this method can estimate models that are less restrictive than the proportional odds/parallel lines models...but more parsimonious and interpretable than those estimated by a nonordinal method, such as multinomial logistic regression.
10 322 JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION Table 2 indicates the results of the multivariate analyses of the effect of religion on immigration preferences. 8 Considering H 1, the ethnoreligious hypothesis, Model 2 indicates that mainline Protestants, evangelical Protestants, and Catholics are neither more nor less likely to support an earned legalization or guest-worker option over a mass deportation, although they are less likely to support an earned legalization option over the other two options. 9 While these results appear contrary to initial predictions, it should be kept in mind that because these variables are also interacted with frequency of church attendance in the model, the coefficients are interpretable only when the church attendance is zero. Substantively, this indicates only that Protestants and Catholics who never attend worship services are less likely to have liberal immigration policy preferences. Indeed, Models 1 and 2 indicate that born-again Protestants and Catholics who attend religious services more frequently are more likely to report more liberal immigration policy preferences. This partly confirms H 2 and adds support to the argument that those belonging to traditions whose leaders have publicly endorsed more liberal immigration policies are more likely to internalize those preferences if they have higher degrees of religious commitment. It should be noted, however, that the coefficients for mainline Protestants are insignificant, indicating that H 2 holds for some traditions but not for others. Model 1 also shows that black Protestants who frequently attend services are significantly more likely to support an immediate deportation policy option over either a guest-worker or earned legalization option, although they are ambivalent toward an earned citizenship option in Model 2. This may correspond with the absence of official public stances on the issue by religious elites from that tradition. This may also be attributable to interracial competition between the African-American and Latino communities over zero-sum economic resources like jobs (see Meier et al. 2004). Finally, there appears to be mixed support for H 3, the minority marginalization hypothesis, as Jews and Latter-day Saints are more likely to favor a guest-worker or earned legalization option over immediate deportation. Model 2 also demonstrates that Jews are less likely to profess preferences for an earned legalization program. A high degree of caution should be exercised with these results, however, as a test for multicollinearity reveals severe problems with these models as estimated. There is an unacceptable amount of collinearity between the various religion variables, which calls the integrity of these results into question. Indeed, the mean variance inflation factor score of these key independent variables is with a range from 1.02 to Consequently, Models 3 and 4 are more parsimonious and exclude the variables responsible for the severe multicollinearity in Models 1 and 2. These models retain frequency of church attendance and minority religious tradition membership, which still allows for a general test of both H 2 and H 3 without the ambiguity created by multicollinearity in Models 1 and 2. The remaining discussion will focus on Models 3 and 4 as these results are substantially more reliable. 8 Despite the relatively large size of the sample analyzed herein (N = 6,003), many respondents refused to answer several demographic questions regarding their income (N = 728), partisanship (N = 370), ideology (N = 363), or religion (N = 199). Additionally, a full 692 respondents declined to indicate their immigration policy preference. These missing cases all contributed to produce the truncated N of 3,511 and 4,188 analyzed by these models. 9 These results hold when excluding the church attendance variables from the model (results not presented). 10 Despite this uncertainty, the presence of multicollinearity increases the magnitude of the standard errors in the model, decreasing the likelihood of finding statistically significant results. The fact that the key independent variables retained their significance is further evidence of the strength of the results presented herein. Also, the severe multicollinearity would seem to account for the unusually large and inconsistent coefficients of the Jewish religion variable in Models 1 and 2.
11 AND WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? 323 Table 2: Results of multivariate analyses of determinants of immigration attitudes Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 R Prefers R Prefers R Prefers R Prefers Guest-Worker/ Legalization Over Guest-Worker/ Legalization Over Legalization Over Guest-Worker/ Legalization Over Guest-Worker/ Deportation Deportation Deportation Deportation B B B Discrete (Std. Error) Discrete (Std. Error) Discrete (Std. Error) Discrete B Change.006 Change.165 Change Change Independent Variable (Std. Error) Min Max (.270) Min Max (.353) Min Max (.315) Min Max Frequency of church attendance (.129) (.093) (.027) (.021) Born-again Christian (.199) (.225) Protestant (.701) (.426) Born-again Protestant (.580) (.527) Black Protestant (.680) (.484) Roman Catholic (.352) (.290) Jewish (1.103) (1.230) (.337) (.267) Latter-day Saints (.483) (.449) (.322) (.186) Other religion (.547) (.382) (.336) (.273) Protestant attendance (.192) (.144) (Continued)
12 324 JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION Table 2 (continued) Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 R Prefers R Prefers R Prefers R Prefers Guest-Worker/ Legalization Over Guest-Worker/ Legalization Over Legalization Over Guest-Worker/ Legalization Over Guest-Worker/ Deportation Deportation Deportation Deportation B B B Discrete (Std. Error) Discrete (Std. Error) Discrete (Std. Error) Discrete B Change.006 Change.165 Change Change Independent Variable (Std. Error) Min Max (.270) Min Max (.353) Min Max (.315) Min Max Born-again Protestant (.143) (.136) Attendance Black Protestant Attendance (.116) (.120) Roman Catholic Attendance (.096) (.104) Controls Education (.024) (.035) (.023) (.020) Female (.075) (.092) (.045) (.095) Age (.003) (.004) (.003) (.003) Hispanic (.126) (.158) (.093) (.148) Black (.268) (.221) (.143) (.086)
13 AND WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? 325 Asian (.289) (.384) (.271) (.282) Mixed ethnicity (.171) (.117) (.162) (.146) Noncitizen (.590) (.779) (.354) (.516) Hispanic Noncitizen (1.028) (.839) (.945) (.628) Republican (.088) (.163) (.082) (.128) Democrat (.071) (.099) (.051) (.072) Ideology (liberal +) (.054) (.072) (.058) (.081) Family income (.026) (.031) (.021) (.034) Labor union (.061) (.129) (.100) (.092) National economic perception (better +) (.057) (.036) (.072) (.055) Personal economic perception (better +) (.062) (.073) (.050) (.065) Foreign-born in county 2000 (.899) (1.070) (.048) (.607) Border state (.134) (.101) (.053) (.085) Contact with non-english speakers (.030) (.039) (.034) (.042) (Continued)
14 326 JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION Table 2 (continued) Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 R Prefers R Prefers R Prefers R Prefers Guest-Worker/ Legalization Over Guest-Worker/ Legalization Over Legalization Over Guest-Worker/ Legalization Over Guest-Worker/ Deportation Deportation Deportation Deportation B B B Discrete (Std. Error) Discrete (Std. Error) Discrete (Std. Error) Discrete B Change.006 Change.165 Change Change Independent Variable (Std. Error) Min Max (.270) Min Max (.353) Min Max (.315) Min Max Friends who are immigrants (.084) (.073) (.992) (.052) Perceived immigrants in area (.070) (.045) (.135) (.033) Constant.722 (.620) Pseudo R N 3,511 4,188 p.10; p.05; p.001. Note: Models estimated via generalized ordered logit estimators, using both weighted values and clustered standard errors by geographic region. Robust standard errors are also used to account for heteroskedasticity in the models. The discrete change values indicate the change in probability of supporting each policy proposal as the corresponding variable moves from its minimum to maximum value, holding all others constant.
15 AND WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? 327 The coefficients for religious service attendance in Models 3 and 4 are both positive and significant, indicating again that those who attend services more often are more likely to indicate increasingly liberal immigration policy preferences. Furthermore, all else being equal, the likelihood of supporting a guest-worker or legalization proposal over an immediate deportation option and for supporting an eventual legalization policy over a guest-worker or immediate deportation policy increases by 7.3 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively, as individuals move from never attending worship services to attending more than once per week. While this is not an overwhelming magnitude, it is comparable to the average size of the effect of other important demographic determinants such as education (6.1 percent) or age (10.1 percent). Consistent with the predictions of the minority marginalization hypothesis, Jews are significantly more likely to support increasingly liberal immigration policy preferences. Latter-day Saints are also more likely to favor an earned legalization program over alternative immigration proposals, although no more or less likely to disfavor immediate deportation (although the variable does approach significance in a positive direction, p =.121). It should be kept in mind, however, that in addition to the marginalization hypothesis, these results for Latter-day Saints are also likely at least partly attributable to the affinity that many LDS faithful develop toward Latinos as a result of two-year mission experiences in Central and South American countries, as well as to Latino immigrants in the United States. A calculation of the predicted probabilities reveals that, holding all other variables constant at their mean values, Jews are 13.8 percent more likely, on average, to support increasingly liberal immigration policies. Latter-day Saints, for their part, are an average of 10.1 percent more likely to report more liberal preferences. The effect of minority religion membership on immigration policy attitudes is even more notable when considering that its combined effect is outweighed only by ideology (which affects immigration attitudes by an average probability of 30 percent as individuals move from being very conservative to very liberal), the number of foreign-born individuals living in one s county (22.8 percent), and Hispanic ethnicity (Hispanic noncitizens 27.4 percent, Hispanic citizens 17.5 percent). Being a Jew or Latter-day Saint has a higher impact on the difference in one s immigration policy preferences than other well-known determinants such as education (6.1 percent) and gender (3.1 percent). The effect is also higher than that of contextual determinants such as contact with non-english speakers (7.3 percent) or having friends who are immigrants (8.8 percent). Control Variables The socioeconomic control variables in Models 3 and 4 reveal results in the expected direction. As presupposed, those with higher levels of education, younger individuals, and females are significantly more likely to support liberal immigration policies, as are both Hispanics and noncitizen Hispanics. The interaction term gives the interpretation that non-hispanic noncitizens are neither more nor less likely to have a different preference either way. Additionally, liberals and Democrats are more likely to support measures to provide for a way for undocumented immigrants to remain permanently in the country. 11 The economic threat hypothesis receives support from these findings. Members of labor unions and those who perceive both their own and the national economic situation poorly are less likely to be supportive of liberal immigration reform measures. Family income does not achieve statistical significance. Also, contrary to conventional wisdom, it appears that living in a border 11 Because of the traditional correlation between religious service attendance and political conservatism, Models 3 and 4 were reestimated excluding partisanship and ideology. The results produced similar results, with the key independent variables maintaining their significance and direction. The exception is church attendance losing significance and the other religion variable gaining positive significance in Model 4.
16 328 JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION state appears to have no effect on one s immigration policy attitudes when controlling for other factors. Finally, Branton and Jones (2005) argue that the interracial pacifying effects of the social contact hypothesis come into play only when the contact is between individuals of similar socioeconomic status. Their conclusion is supported by these results, which show that those who have friends (likely to be of similar socioeconomic status) that are immigrants are more likely to support liberal immigration reform measures while those who perceive themselves as living in areas with higher numbers of recent immigrants and have frequent contact with non-english speakers are less likely to support liberal immigration measures. These findings are tempered, however, by the finding that the percent foreign-born in one s county (holding these other variables constant) increases one s likelihood for supporting an earned legalization policy, which provides more general support for the social contact hypothesis. See Oliver and Wong (2003) for a further discussion of the sometimes conflicting effect of various measures of interracial contact in predicting racial attitudes. Alternative Views Considered The most obvious objection presented by these conclusions is that immigration policy attitudes are indeed influenced by religious factors, but not through the elite cues mechanism as previously developed. One could argue that the fact that a particular religious organization publishes an official policy endorsement on its website does not guarantee that such endorsements are echoed by individual congregational leaders and thus making it highly unlikely that the average parishioner is even aware of his or her church s stand on immigration policy. In response, it is admitted that the empirical results presented in this article do not conclusively prove a causal mechanism between elite cues and parishioner attitudes. Even though we have herein demonstrated with confidence that religion exerts an independent effect on immigration preferences, the argument for elite cues presented in this article is merely implied by these results. It could alternatively be argued that religious individuals may be more inclined to support liberal immigration reform measures because they are simply more likely to be attempting to live the Judeo-Christian value that teaches to love thy neighbor. While such a theoretical mechanism is indeed possible (even probable), it is almost impossible to test empirically given the data and methods employed in this particular study. Such an enterprise would require making several assumptions about the appropriate political application of religious doctrine. Does welcoming the stranger among us mean that the government should promote open borders, a guest-worker program, or a path to citizenship? It could legitimately be argued that loving one s neighbor includes encouraging him or her to be honorable in obeying immigration laws and procedures. Objective analysts, however, are in no position to interpret religious doctrine for the individual church member and/or to prescribe the correct policy position that should be taken. It is thus argued that the elite cues mechanism discussed in this study, support for which is implied, may be more objectively reliable because the official policy positions that religious organizations have endorsed do not require any subjective interpretation on the part of the analyst. Further research is certainly called for to illuminate further the causal relationship between religious affiliation, level of religiosity, and immigration policy preferences. CONCLUSION This study has explored immigration reform as a new moral social-justice issue on which American religious elites and organizations take public stances. It has been argued that religion is a key independent variable necessary for understanding more comprehensively the determinants of attitudes toward immigration policy. After discussing three distinct theoretical frameworks through which religion may impact immigration attitudes (ethnoreligious, religious restructuralism, and minority marginalization), quantitative evidence has been presented that demonstrates
17 AND WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? 329 that those who attend religious services more frequently have a greater likelihood of possessing liberal immigration policy preferences. Members of minority religions, notably Jews and Latterday Saints, are also more likely to empathize with the plight of undocumented immigrants and support liberal immigration reform measures. One of the implications of this study for the field of religion and politics is that immigration should be included among the moral issues 12 typically analyzed and discussed by researchers. Another is that there is now further evidence for the religious restructuralism theoretical framework and support for the argument that religious elites may exert an impact upon American public policy preferences. Furthermore, the results of this study provide support for the minority marginalization theory that has not received a great deal of attention in the literature on either religion and politics or race and politics. Last, this study provides evidence for the conclusion that, contrary to conventional wisdom, individual religiosity can sometimes lead to more liberal policy preferences. Religion and conservative public policies apparently do not always go hand in hand. For researchers studying the determinants of immigration policy preferences, and race and politics more generally, the results of this study indicate that religious factors exert an independent and significant effect on public policy opinions toward immigration reform. This implies that religious variables are required, either as independent or control variables, in any analysis of the determinants of attitudes on immigration policy or race and ethnicity. At the very least, such studies should include control variables for frequency of worship attendance, which is often available in public opinion surveys, and minority religion membership, if not specifically Judaism and Latter-day Saints. Perhaps the most salient lesson learned from this study is that religion not only exerts an independent effect on individual immigration policy attitudes, but that the effect is as strong as other traditional determinants of immigration attitudes. Indeed, these results demonstrate that the effect of religion is comparable in magnitude to other significant determinants of immigration attitudes such as socioeconomic characteristics, economic perceptions, and racial/ethnic context. It is not unreasonable to conclude that religion causes individuals to take into consideration undocumented immigrants when they ask themselves the biblical query: And who is my neighbor? REFERENCES Allport, Gordon The nature of prejudice: 25th anniversary edition. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. American Jewish Committee Immigration. Available at : Immigration.htm (Accessed January 10, 2008). Ammerman, Nancy Tatom Congregation and community. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Aranoff, Gideon Push for a principled migration policy. Available at: org/pushforaprincipledmigrationpolicy.pdf (Accessed January 10, 2008). Barker, David C. and Christopher Jan Carman The spirit of capitalism?: Religious doctrine, values, and economic attitude constructs. Political Behavior 22(1):1 27. Betz, Hans-Georg Radical right-wing populism in Western Europe. New York: St. Martin s. Bolce, Louis and Gerald de Maio The anti-christian fundamentalist factor in contemporary politics. Public Opinion Quarterly 63(4): Branton, Regina P. and Bradford S. Jones Reexamining racial attitudes: The conditional relationship between diversity and socioeconomic environment. American Journal of Political Science 49(2): By concluding that immigration reform is a moral issue, it is not meant to imply that immigration should be considered exclusively as a moral issue, as it obviously is an issue that also has many cultural, economic, and social ramifications. It is also not implied that this study has subjected the morality of the immigration issue to empirical evaluation. Rather, it is argued that immigration should now be considered as a moral issue in that religious leaders have begun to speak out publicly and frequently on the topic and that religion exerts an independent and significant effect on immigration attitudes in the American public. This is similar to the effect that religion exerts on attitudes toward more commonly accepted moral issues such as abortion and homosexual marriage.
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