Immigration in the 2000s: Immigration Reform, Executive Orders, and Evangelical Leadership

  • Ruth M. Melkonian-Hoover
  • Lyman A. Kellstedt
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy book series (PSRPP)


This chapter examines the role of evangelical elites and advocacy groups in the immigration debates of the past two decades, noting a considerable increase in white evangelical activism in favor of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), a persistent Latino elite involvement, and scattered, but increasing efforts by African and Asian-American activists. Here we make use of recent scholarship, journalistic coverage, and personal interviews with key evangelical leaders. We begin with a history of immigration policymaking in the 2000s. Then we explore why many evangelical elites have increased their activities in favor of CIR, highlighting the leadership of organizations like the National Association of Evangelicals/World Relief, the Evangelical Immigration Table, and Hispanic evangelical organizations. We also consider the growing role and activism of African-American and Asian evangelicals. Pro-CIR evangelical elites have become a de facto ally of mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish advocacy groups, which tend to favor liberal immigration policies. At the same time, a minority of white evangelical elites who favor restrictive immigration policies has become increasingly vocal since Donald Trump’s ascent.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth M. Melkonian-Hoover
    • 1
  • Lyman A. Kellstedt
    • 2
  1. 1.Gordon CollegeWenhamUSA
  2. 2.Wheaton CollegeWheatonUSA

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