Skip to main content
Past Event

Religious Activism and the Debate over Immigration Reform

Past Event

Religious Activism and the Debate over Immigration Reform

Religious leaders have demonstrated a remarkable degree of unity across theological, denominational, and ideological lines for comprehensive immigration reform. Religious groups have organized marches, prayer vigils and postcard campaigns to pressure the U.S. Congress to take up immigration reform. Largely because of the activism of these religious groups, immigration has remained on a legislative agenda crowded with other pressing domestic concerns. Why are religious groups so united on the question of immigration reform? How has their activism affected the debate on Capitol Hill? And what does this tell us about the role of faith in affecting debates over policy and building political coalitions?

Brookings Senior Fellows E.J. Dionne and William Galston co-moderated a two-panel discussion to address these questions. Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, gave opening remarks. The first panel focused on the role of religious leaders in building coalitions and affecting the debate. The second discussed the links among ethnicity, religiosity and partisanship.

*Dr. Robert P. Jones’s full topline questionnaire, state polling and focus group reports for Ohio and Arkansas, and press release for the main findings are available on Public Religion Research Institute’s website.


Panel 1- How Religious Activism Has Shaped Immigration Reform


Kevin Appleby

Director of Migration Policy and Public AffairsThe US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Panel 2 – Understanding the Connection Among Ethnicity, Religiosity and Partisanship


David Leal

Associate ProfessorDepartment of Government, University of Texas, Austin


Opening Remarks

More Information

(202) 797-6105


Get a weekly events calendar from Brookings