Poll Says White Evangelicals Are Most Supportive of Family Separation, but Majority Oppose

White evangelicals were the religious group most supportive of separating children from their families at the border, though a slim majority, and a strong majority of all Americans, opposed the policy, according to a new poll.

poll about immigration issues released Tuesday by the Washington-based Public Religion Research Institute showed that Americans of every religious stripe opposed the Trump administration’s previous policy of separating undocumented immigrant children from their families.

A slim majority of white evangelicals, 51 percent, opposed the policy of treating immigrant parents as lawbreakers and taking their children from them when they enter the country without permission, while 36 percent supported such an approach. The remaining 13 percent expressed no opinion on the matter.

Meanwhile, 60 percent of white mainline Protestants, 74 percent of Catholics, 87 percent of non-white Protestants, and 82 percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans opposed family separation at the border.

Last week amid a firestorm of controversy over the issue, President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending the zero-tolerance policy he enacted in May, which treated everyone who crossed the border as criminals and resulted in family separations due to the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement. The move will be examined by the courts.

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the Trump administration to reunify all migrant children under the age of five who were separated from their families within 14 days. All other children must be reunified within 30 days.

The PRRI survey results come as debate intensifies over immigration and the ideological chasm between Republicans and Democrats continues to widen.

“The overwhelming number of Democrats (94%) and a large majority of independents (76%) oppose a policy that treats migrant families as criminals requiring separation of parents and children. Half (50%) of Republicans support a policy of family separation while 40% are opposed to it. Notably, 10% of Republicans express no opinion on the issue,” the report read.

Most evangelical leaders who spoke publicly on the issue, including some who serve on Trump’s evangelical advisory board, opposed separating migrant children from their families.

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Source: Christian Post