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“And Who Is My Neighbor?” Religion and Immigration Policy Attitudes


Correspondence should be addressed to Benjamin Knoll, 341 Schaeffer Hall, Department of Political Science, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242. E-mail:


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.