Meet America’s Pro-Refugee Majority

An increasing number of Americans —nearly three quarters of us—say it’s important to take in refugees escaping war and violence.

I kid you not.

Meet a new moral majority. The numbers of pro-refugee Americans have gone up since 2016, according to a November 2019 report from Pew Research. Given the anti-refugee rhetoric filling the airways and Twitterdom, that’s impressive.

This openness goes beyond refugees and includes the undocumented who are already here. A sizable number — 67% in total— also believe it’s important to figure out a way for immigrants currently here illegally to stay here legally.  

This shows how public sentiment is at odds with the Trump Administration’s ongoing cuts to our nation’s refugee admissions, putting refugee resettlement at near 40-year lows.

There are partisan differences, of course, Democrats are more open to bringing people in and legalizing the status of the undocumented and less concerned about border security and deportations, while Republicans are more concerned about border security and less open to bringing in people.

But majorities of both parties say that taking in refugees fleeing war and violence is important—85% of Democrats and 58% of Republicans.

These numbers have actually been going UP.

In 2016–just three years ago–61% of Americans called admitting refugees escaping war and violence was important or somewhat important. Now it’s 73%. In 2016t 40% of Republicans said admitting refugees was important or somewhat important; today that has increased to 58%. Democrats went from 79% to 85%.

Public opinion clearly has little impact on the Trump Administration’s cuts to refugee admissions.

Still, it’s interesting to note that the leadership of a key pillar to the fabled Trump base, white evangelicals, are very pro refugee.

As recently as last summer, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Leith Anderson, was among several evangelical leaders to write President Trump, imploring him to reinvigorate the nation’s refugee admissions program.

And even the Southern Baptist Conference tells its membership to take in refugees. Its 2018 resolution on “Affirmation of Foundational and Compassionate Commitments in Several Submitted Resolutions” is quite specific. It says: “RESOLVED, That we continue to “encourage Southern Baptist churches and families to welcome and adopt refugees into their churches and homes as a means to demonstrate to the nations that our God longs for every tribe, tongue, and nation to be welcomed at His throne” (“On Refugee Ministry,” resolution adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2016.”)

Refugee resettlement is more unifying than the headlines suggest.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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