News & Media

Poll: Coloradans of Faith Overwhelmingly Support Citizenship

Human Dignity & Just Immigration Reform

March 21, 2013

CONTACT: Meredith MacKenzie, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications:

(202) 265-3000 (o), (202) 427-2007 (c)

Poll: Coloradans of Faith Overwhelmingly Support Citizenship

Public Religion Research Institute poll reveals support for keeping families together

WASHINGTON – New polling data out today reveals that religious Coloradans overwhelmingly support a roadmap to citizenship and believe that immigration reform should focus on keeping families together and protecting the dignity of every person. The Campaign for Citizenship, a project of PICO National Network and Together Colorado, the PICO federation in Colorado, is working to ensure that reform legislation includes a just and direct roadmap to citizenship by organizing communities of faith.

“This poll shows the support of people of faith for the immigrant Americans in our community,” said the Rev. Dr. Vernon K. Rempel, senior pastor at the First Mennonite Church of Denver. “People of faith overwhelmingly follow God’s call to love the other and they are dedicated to upholding the dignity of every person and keeping families together.”

The poll, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute found that the values of keeping families together and protecting the dignity of every person are rated very or extremely important as principles to immigration reform by almost 80 percent of Americans. Additionally, 69 percent of Americans also say following the Golden Rule — by “providing immigrants the same opportunity that I would want if my family were immigrating to the U.S.”— is a value that is very or extremely important.

“People of faith start with the belief that we are all God’s children, created with inherent dignity and because of that belief we will settle for nothing less than full citizenship for our immigrant family members, neighbors and friends,” said the Rev. Nelson Bock, a Lutheran minister and clergy leader with Together Colorado. “Religious people in Colorado are calling on Congress to keep families together by creating a direct pathway to citizenship that takes seven years and is open to all 11 million aspiring citizens.”

The poll, one of the largest ever conducted on immigration, found that majorities of all religious groups support a path to citizenship including Hispanic Catholics (74 percent), Hispanic Protestants (71 percent), black Protestants (70 percent), Jewish Americans (67 percent), Mormons (63 percent), white Catholics (62 percent), white mainline Protestants (61 percent) and white evangelical Protestants (56 percent).

“It is sometimes difficult to get politicians to listen to the heartbreaking stories of what immigrant American families have gone through, but we know they pay attention to numbers. I hope that Colorado’s congressional delegation is watching these numbers because overwhelming majorities are standing with aspiring citizens. People of all faiths and political affiliations support a clear, direct and just roadmap to citizenship the immigrant families in our communities. We hope and pray that our legislators take notice,” said the Rev. Bock.

PICO National Network has outlined the Campaign for Citizenship’s five essential elements of a reform bill:
1. Seven Years: The path to citizenship should be direct and take no longer than seven years. The current backlog of immigration cases should be processed expeditiously.
2. Citizenship for 11 Million: All 11 million undocumented Americans should be able to come out of the shadows to receive legal residency and begin moving down the path to becoming citizens without unnecessary obstacles.
3. Freedom of Movement: People approved for the first phase of legal residency should be able to work, drive, attend school and travel out-of-country for family or educational purposes.
4. Cost Savings from Ending Needless Detention and Deportation: As we bring people in from the shadows and maintain border security, we should be able to reduce the enormous sums spent detaining and deporting hundreds of thousands of immigrants who pose no danger to the community.
5. No Permanent Underclass: Policies designed to increase the opportunity for immigrants to legally enter the United States should reunite families, protect labor rights and avoid creating a class of residents without access to a path to citizenship.
The Rev. Bock and the Rev. Rempel are available to speak about their congregations’ work to support citizenship legislation. To speak with them contact Together Colorado Communications Director Stephanie Gustafson (720) 838-6392 or

PICO National Network is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. PICO works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 60 local and state federations. PICO and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for office. PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation. Learn more at

Together Colorado is a non-partisan, multi-racial, multi-faith community organization that unlocks the power of people to transform their communities through community organizing. Grounded in our faith and democratic traditions and in the everyday concerns of the people in our congregations, schools and communities, we train and equip faith leaders and volunteer community leaders to join together to resolve community issues on their own behalf at local, state and national levels. Learn more at