Shared Values

New American Economy, The Latino Coalition, and the American Principles in Action Latino Partnership’s new report, Shared Values: How Immigrants Align with the Republican and Democratic Parties on Social Values Issues,” analyzed the social and political views held by the 18.6 million immigrant citizens in America and found that foreign-born citizens are more socially conservative than their native-born counterparts and are less likely to identify with either political party.

Key findings include:

  • Immigrants have low levels of party affiliation. Among immigrants who are eligible to vote, a full half, or 50 percent, report not identifying with either of the two major U.S. political parties. For recent Hispanic immigrants—those who have been in the United States fewer than 15 years—62 percent do not identify with either party.
  • Immigrants who do identify as Democrats are more conservative than members of the Democratic party overall. Foreign-born citizens are more than twice as likely as the general U.S. population to hold conservative or very conservative views yet identify as Democrats. While 11 percent of the general U.S. population falls into that category, 24 percent of the foreign-born population does, as well as 30 percent of foreign-born Hispanics. Forty three percent of Hispanic immigrant Democrats and 39 percent of all immigrant Democrats oppose allowing same sex marriage, compared with just 30 percent of Democrats who are native-born.
  • Immigrant citizens often don’t identify with the party one would expect based on their religious values. Sixty-three percent of native-born individuals who attend church once a week or more identify as Republicans or independents. Among immigrants, the equivalent figure is 51 percent. Similarly, 38 percent of the U.S.-born Evangelical or born-again Christian population identifies as Republican. Among immigrant Evangelicals, that figure is only 26 percent.
  • Some key and growing groups of immigrants could be critical to strengthening conservative causes in the future. In recent years, there has been a surge in the number of Hispanic immigrants who identify as Evangelical or born-again Christians.7 Among those Hispanics, 73 percent oppose abortion, compared to 43 percent of the U.S. population as a whole. Another growing group, black immigrants, is also more conservative than the broader U.S. population on some issues. Fifty-three percent of black immigrants, for instance, oppose gay marriage—a figure 9 percentage points higher than the opposition rate among the U.S. population as a whole.
  • Young immigrants today are more conservative and religious than young people in the country overall. Among Americans older than age 50, the foreign-born population is less religious than the U.S.-born population on a variety of measures. Among younger people, however, the trend is reversed: While 32 percent of native-born Americans ages 18-29 rank religion as “very important” to their lives, 41 percent of immigrants in that age group do. The same pattern exists for both gay marriage and abortion, where young immigrants are about 15 to 20 percent more likely to oppose such practices than young people born in America.

Download the full report.

Read the press release.

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New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…