A new poll from the Pew Research Center aimed to examine the partisan divide in America as it pertains to our beliefs on refugees, and whether the country has a responsibility to accept them.
Broadly, 51% of all Americans answer that questions with a “yes,” but it’s when you examine the partisan and religious breakdown that it becomes really interesting. First and foremost, it’s clear that Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are not keen on the idea—only 26% believe that such a responsibility exists, and that’s actually down almost ten percent from Feb. 2017. Democrats, meanwhile, held steady, with 74% saying that allowing refugees into the country should be part of the American bargain.
The religious breakdown is also instructive:
who say the U.S. has a responsibility to accept refugees:
Religiously unaffiliated 65
Black Protestant 63%
White mainline Protestant 43%
White evangelicals 25%https://t.co/pkyUkikUMMpic.twitter.com/yEFg2OPGvr— Pew Research Religion (@PewReligion) July 7, 2019
White people are less sympathetic to refugees than black or Hispanic citizens, and if those white people are evangelical, the number declines to 25%, while among black protestants, for instance, 68% believe the U.S. has a specific moral responsibility toward refugees.
There's an irony there, because as Paste's EIC Josh Jackson pointed out, there's plenty of Christian scripture pertaining to this exact issue, and it does not agree with the overwhelming American majority:
What in the literal hell is going on with white evangelicals? "The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself for you were foreigners in Egypt." Lev 19:33-34 https://t.co/anlpI8EUr4— Josh Jackson (@joshjackson) July 8, 2019
To add to the irony, the percentages of those with no religious affiliation are reversed from their evangelical fellow citizens—65% answered “yes” to the question.
Elsewhere, women are slightly more sympathetic to refugees than men, younger people are far more sympathetic than older, and those with more education are overwhelmingly more sympathetic than those with a high school degree or less.
As Pew notes, the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. is at its lowest since 1980—when Congress created the existing refugee program—and that’s largely because of a limit placed by the Trump administration.