Uncontrolled immigration will put more girls in the United States at risk of female genital mutilation, according to the latest anti-immigrant comments from the camp of presidential candidate Donald Trump. The comments were made by senior aide Stephen Miller.
On the campaign trail, the Republican candidate himself has said Mexican immigrants could be rapists or drug dealers, and he has proposed banning almost all Muslim immigrants.
The businessman’s enthusiastic supporters seem to have embraced Trump’s staunch anti-immigrant stance, but more Americans (50 percent) think immigrants strengthen society than those who believe foreign-born newcomers are a threat to U.S. customs and values (34 percent).
The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) finds that, while attitudes about immigrants have fluctuated, all surveys from the past year show no more than 4-in-10 Americans agree that immigrants are a threat to American culture.
The most striking differences of opinion appear to be generational.
More than two-thirds — 68 percent — of people between the ages of 18 and 29 say immigrants strengthen the country, while 19 percent believe immigrants threaten traditional American customs and values.
But older folks feel differently.
Only 36 percent of seniors — age 65 and older — say newcomers strengthen American society, while 44 percent believe immigrants are a threat to our way of life. Twelve percent of seniors offered no opinion on the matter when surveyed.
Opinions also vary based on race and ethnic background.
For example, two-thirds of Asian-Pacific Islanders (70 percent) and Hispanics (67 percent) say immigrants benefit American society. Black Americans also have a more affirming view, with 56 percent saying newcomers have a positive influence on American life.
However, whites are more closely divided, with 45 percent viewing immigrants in a positive light while 40 percent — 4-in-10 — believe newcomers threaten traditional American values.
Education also appears to help shape views on immigrants, with college-educated Americans being more likely to view immigrants in a positive way than whites with a high school degree of less.
While almost half (48 percent) of white people with a high school degree or less believe immigrants threaten America’s way of life, only about one-third (31 percent) of whites with a 4-year college degree and only one-quarter (25 percent) of those with a post-graduate education agree with that sentiment.
The majority of college-educated whites (55 percent) and those with a post-graduate degree (62 percent) believe immigrants strengthen American society.
The Americans who hold the most affirmative views on foreign-born newcomers are people who consider themselves to be religiously unaffiliated as well as those who belong to non-Christian religious traditions. Non-white Christians are also among those who hold the most approving views of immigrants.
At least 7-in-10 Unitarian Universalists (81 percent), Hindus (73 percent), Muslims (72 percent), and Hispanic Catholics (70 percent) feel newcomers are good for the country.
About two-thirds (65 percent) of Buddhists and about 6-in-10 religiously unaffiliated Americans (61 percent) and Hispanic Protestants (60 percent) also view immigrants as making a positive contribution to American society.
By contrast, white Americans show a little more hesitance on the issue. Fewer than half of Mormons (45 percent), white Catholics (44 percent), and white mainline Protestants (41 percent) see immigrants as a boon to the country.
Meanwhile, 53 percent of white evangelical Protestants say immigrants threaten traditional American customs and values.
More Americans — 62 percent — say illegal immigrants currently living in the United States should b given a path to citizenship, if they meet certain requirements. Fifteen percent say these unauthorized immigrants should be allowed to stay legally, but not become citizens while about 1-in-5 Americans say illegal immigrants should be identified and deported.
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