The Public Religion Research Institute recently conducted a survey designed to reveal American attitudes towards religious freedom, Islam and Muslims in American society, and immigrants and immigration. The survey and accompanying report, titled “What It Means to Be American: Attitudes in an Increasingly Diverse America Ten Years After 9/11,” were published in conjunction with the Brookings Institute and released on September 6, 2011. At the release, the authors of the report presented their findings and offered commentary on the results.
Although the report illuminated some tension on immigration issues, it uncovered generally encouraging attitudes towards immigrants and immigration policy. Looking specifically at the DREAM Act, the survey found that almost 6-in-10 Americans support the legislation. With the exception of white Evangelical Protestants, a majority number of members from all religious groups supported the passage of a federal DREAM Act. This latest show of support coincides with the soon-expected passage of a California state bill that allows immigrant youth to access financial aid for higher education.
The survey also found that 62% of all Americans would support a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes border security provisions and a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Researchers noted a disconnection between the observed majority support for reform and the challenges encountered in trying to make this reform a reality. William Galston, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, addressed this disconnect by observing that the more vocal minority who oppose reform frequently drown out the supportive diffuse majority.
To lend your support for humane reforms, visit the LIRS Action Center and tell the Administration and your members of Congress that you support the DREAM Act and welcoming newcomers with fair and just immigration policies.