WASHINGTON—A recent Zogby poll of Catholics nationwide showed overwhelming support for reform of our nation’s immigration laws, with Catholics supporting a path to citizenship for the estimated 12 million undocumented persons in the country.
The poll conducted October 17-20, included a sample of 1,000 people who self-identified as Roman Catholics and was commissioned by Migration and Refugee Services of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (MRS/USCCB). It had a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points.
About 69 percent of Catholics polled supported a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, provided they register with the government; 62 percent supported the concept if they were required to learn English. The U.S. Catholic bishops have long endorsed a path to citizenship for undocumented persons that would include requirements to register with the government and to learn English.
“These results show that, like other Americans, Catholics want a solution to the challenge of illegal immigration and support undocumented immigrants becoming full members of our communities and nation,” said Johnny Young, executive director of Migration and Refugee Services of the USCCB. “It is clear that those opposed to a legalization of the undocumented are a minority,” he added.
In other findings, 64 percent of Catholics opposed the construction of a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, while three out of four Catholics agree that the church has a moral obligation to help provide for the humanitarian needs of immigrants, regardless of their legal status.
Todd Scribner, education coordinator for MRS/USCCB, stated that the poll results demonstrated that the efforts of the U.S. bishops to educate Catholics on the realities of immigration are bearing fruit.
“Catholics are generally in agreement with their bishops that there needs to be a comprehensive and humane solution to our immigration problems,” Scribner said. “The strong educational efforts of the bishops, through the Justice for Immigrants Campaign and their own teachings, have helped generate support in the Catholic community for comprehensive reform.”
The U.S. bishops launched an educational initiative in 2005, entitled the Justice for Immigrants Campaign, to educate Catholics on the need for comprehensive immigration reform.