The debate on immigration reform has split the country, so it’s no surprise that the religious community is divided over the issue as well. Just a few years ago, the clergy were divided from their flock with clergy tending to support immigration reform. However, opinions have begun to change. Across the country, Roman Catholic clergy have been fighting efforts by Congress to make it a crime to help or hide illegal immigrants. With the Catholic Church’s Catechism stating that “The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin,” priests and nuns believe it to be their divine duty to protect illegal immigrants.
- Priests in Chicago have held hunger strikes, and others have marched in protests across the nation, with Washington, D.C., Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick giving the opening speech at a demonstration on the National Mall in April 2006.
- Former Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony has declared from the pulpit that priests in his diocese have permission to break the law if Congress makes it a crime to help illegal immigrants.
- On Good Friday 2006, the bishops of New York State echoed the position of Catholic clergy when they declared that they wanted Congress to pass legislation that “provides for a pathway to permanent legal status for undocumented workers” and sets up “a rational and fair temporary worker program.”
- While Catholic Church leaders have long been in favor of immigration reform, the stance of lay Catholic’s on immigration has changed in recent years. When asked in 2006 whether they supported or opposed amnesty for undocumented workers who are already in the country, 34 percent of Catholics said they supported it, 49 percent opposed it and 15 percent were unsure, according to an April Zogby poll. (Read an April 18, 2006, Washington Times story about the poll.) A 2013 survey commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs however, found that 77 percent of U.S. Catholics support citizenship for immigrants who fulfill requirements like registration, paying a fine, paying taxes, and taking English classes. (Read an April 27, 2013 Catholic News Agency article about the poll.)
A similar, if more nuanced, division has taken place among conservative Christians. Some of the most influential Christian conservative organizations in the country have remained publicly silent about the issue, even though their members seem to be speaking loud and clear.
- The Family Research Council surveyed its members in April 2006 and found that by a 9-1 ratio, they believed illegal immigrants should be “detected, arrested and returned to their country of origin.” Despite that, the council has not issued a public opinion on the matter. (Read an April 28, 2006, San Francisco Chronicle story about it.)
- Christian evangelicals in favor of comprehensive immigration reform wrote a letter to President Bush and Congress. Among the signers was World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals. But the NAE itself did not sign the letter because it said its members are divided on how to deal with immigration.
Why it matters
Historically, the United States has been a nation of immigrants. It has also long been seen as a harbor for religious migrants seeking freedom of worship. That is why the Pilgrims first came to America, and why immigrants of many other faiths still seek entry. Those immigrants continue to renew or transform American religion. But many argue that wide-open immigration, especially for non-Christians, is changing what is essential about the United States, including the nation’s foundational faith traditions. Consequently, the debate over immigration reform can be seen as a debate about American identity. Both Republicans and Democrats say comprehensive immigration reform is needed soon. Increasingly, congregations and people of faith are taking a stand.
Angles and questions for reporters
Since the history of the United States is largely the story of immigration, it is not surprising that the history of nearly every religious community in the United States, from Puritans to Muslims, is also a story of immigration. These are not static stories, either. Religious groups continue to be affected and even transformed by immigration. Mormonism, for example, is considered a “home-grown” American religion, and yet much of the church’s growth has come from the immigrant Latino community. The same holds true for Pentecostalism.
- What do employers, school officials, religious groups and social service agencies say about the impact of immigration from Mexico and Latin America on your region?
- How are congregations responding? What Spanish-language services or migrant outreach programs have been initiated?
- What stories do immigrants in your area have to tell about their journeys and their faith?
- The U.S. Catholic Bishops sent a letter to President Bush on Oct. 11, 2006, asking him to veto the Secure Fence Act of 2006.
- In December 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an immigration bill known as H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act, sponsored by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin but failed to pass the Senate.
- The National Immigration Forum is a pro-immigration organization that tracks the status of immigration legislation.
- The DREAM Act was first introduced in August 2001 by Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.). It would provide a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors. As of May 2013, the DREAM Act had not passed.
- On Dec. 30, 2005, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles sent President Bush a letter arguing that “our golden rule has always been to serve people in need – not to verify beforehand their immigration status.” Read a March 1, 2006, story from the Los Angeles Times explaining Mahony’s views.
- In May 2005, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced a campaign for immigration reform called “Justice for Immigrants: A Journey of Hope,” saying the U.S. immigration system is broken. The campaign is supported by 20 Catholic organizations with national networks. In January 2003, the bishops from the U.S. and Mexico issued a pastoral letter regarding migration.
- On Oct. 14, 2005, a large coalition of faith-based and community groups issued an “Interfaith Statement in Support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform” which was updated in 2008. It calls for border protection policies “consistent with humanitarian values” and a chance for immigrants already in the United States to become legal residents. The statement’s supporters include national Jewish, Christian and Muslim groups, along with local groups from Benedictine monks to Buddhists.
- World Relief, the development arm of the National Association of Evangelicals, is involved with refugee resettlement and supports the Interfaith Statement on immigration reform.
- More than a dozen national Jewish organizations, including the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith International and the Anti-Defamation League, along with many local groups, have endorsed a statement called “A Jewish Vision for the Future of American Immigration and Refugee Policy,” issued in July 2005. It states that the United States shouldn’t place limits on immigration “because of exaggerated fears that today’s immigrants will not become productive and patriotic Americans.”
- The Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted a statement on immigration in November 1998. It recalls the church’s tradition of showing hospitality for the uprooted and vulnerable and calls for advocacy to produce just immigration laws.
Polls and surveys
America’s Voice is a pro-immigration organization that tracks public polling information about immigration.
“Attitudes toward immigration: in the pulpit and the pew”
An April 26, 2006, analysis of religious attitudes towards immigration from the Pew Research Center.
“Few say religion shapes immigration, environment views”
A poll released Sept. 17, 2010, conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, that found that few people say that their religion shapes their views on issues outside of abortion and same-sex marriage including immigration.
“Citizenship, values, & cultural concerns: what Americans want from immigration reform”
The 2013 Religion, Values, and Immigration Reform Survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute in March 2013 found that support for immigration reform including a path to citizenship is over 50 percent for several religious and racial groups.
PollingReport.com offers a collection of polls on Americans’ opinions on politics and religion.
They collect polling data on immigration.
Articles and broadcasts
“Poll finds broad support for immigration reform among white, religious, and GOP voters”
March 21, 2013, Talking Points Memo article about the 2013 Religion, Values, and Immigration Reform Survey by the Public Religion Research Institute.
“‘Nuns on the Bus’ will hit the road for immigration reform”
May 1, 2013, Religious News Service article about the American group “Nuns on the Bus” going along the Southern border to push for immigration reform.
“Inter-faith leaders speak out on US immigration bill”
May 13, 2013, Ecumenical News article about how leaders of numerous religions are speaking out in favor of immigration reform.
“Faith, business leaders encouraged by immigration bill”
April 23, 2013, Houston Chronicle article about Houston faith leaders’ response to new immigration reform legislation being discussed in Congress.
“Faith leaders call for immigration reforms that preserve families”
April 15, 2013, Deseret News article about faith leaders’ call to Congress for immigration reform that preserves families.
“California bishops back federal immigration overhaul”
April 25, 2013, Sacramento Bee article about California bishops’ support for a federal overhaul of immigration.
“Religious leaders: gay rights plan is a threat to immigration bill”
May 8, 2013, Edge article about religious leaders wariness of including gay rights provisions in a federal overhaul of immigration.
“Illegal immigrants in US ‘overwhelmingly Christian,’ says study”
May 22, 2013, Ecumenical News article about a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life study that found that the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants are Christian.
“Cardinal puts church in fight for immigration rights”
April 2, 2006, Washington Post article on former Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony’s fight for immigration rights.
“Rift on immigration widens for conservatives and cardinals”
March 19, 2006, New York Times story about differences over immigration policy between evangelicals and Catholics.
“Churches resist tougher immigration laws”
March 14, 2006, Christian Science Monitor story about the involvement of religious leaders in the immigration debate and the willingness of some to consider civil disobedience.
“L.A. Cardinal Mahony attacks immigration bill”
March 5, 2006, NPR interview with Kevin Appleby, director of migration and refugee policy for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in which he describes immigration policy as a humanitarian and moral issue and said, “In the face of the stranger we see the face of Christ.”
“Religion & Ethics Newsweekly: Illegal Immigration”
Transcript of a Nov. 14, 2003, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly program on immigration.
“Immigration in America: faith and assimilation”
National Public Radio’s 2004 series on Immigration in America segment on “Faith and Assimilation.”
Jeffrey S. Passel
Jeffrey S. Passel is a senior demographer for the Pew Hispanic Center, which has conducted research on Latino immigration patterns and Hispanic attitudes toward immigration policy.
Marshall Fitz is the director of immigration policy for the Center for American Progress (CAP), which is a progressive independent nonpartisan educational institute. Contact Fitz through the CAP communications director Crystal Patterson or through the email form on his CAP page.
Peggy Levitt is a professor of Latin American studies and sociology at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass., and an associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. She is the author of several books, including God Needs No Passport: Immigrants and the Changing American Religious Landscape.
Ira Mehlman is media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. FAIR advocates for changes in immigration law that would reduce the number of immigrants allowed to enter the United States. Mehlman contends that Jews could face increased anti-Semitism if more immigrants are allowed into the U.S. Contact Mehlman through FAIR press secretary Cassie Williams.
Janet Murguia is the president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.
Edwin I. Hernández
Edwin I. Hernández is the director of the Center for Study of Latino Religion at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind. The center conducts social-scientific study of the U.S. Latino church, its leadership and the interaction between religion and community.
Ian F. Haney-López
Ian F. Haney-López is the John H. Boalt Professor of Law at the University of California-Berkeley School of Law. An expert on race relations and law, he is the author of Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice (Belknap/Harvard, 2003).
Gastón Espinosa, assistant professor of religious studies at Claremont McKenna College in California, specializes in Latino religion and politics.
Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform is a campaign of Sojourners that educates and mobilizes Christian organizations, churches, and leaders from across the theological and political spectrum to advocate for comprehensive U.S. immigration reform and compassionate immigration policies at the state level.
Karen Leonard is an anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine. Her publications include Muslims in the United States: The State of Research and Immigrant Faiths: Transforming Religious Life in America.
Lois Ann Lorentzen
Lois Ann Lorentzen is professor of social ethics in the theology and religious studies department at the University of San Francisco (USF) and co-director of the Center for Latino Studies in the Americas (CELASA).
Josh DeWind is program director of the Migration Program of the Social Science Research Council in New York City. He was a founding member of the Center for Immigrants Rights, National Coalition for Haitian Rights and National Immigration Forum.
Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo is a sociology professor at the University of Southern California and an expert on issues of illegal immigration and the illegal-immigrant rights movement in the United States. She is the author of Doméstica: Immigrant Workers Cleaning and Caring in the Shadows of Affluence.
Diana L. Eck
Diana L. Eck is a professor of comparative religion and Indian studies at Harvard University. She is also director of Harvard’s Pluralism Project, which explores the religious diversity of the U.S.
Ernie Cortes Jr.
Ernie Cortes Jr., the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” award, is on the executive team of the Industrial Areas Foundation, which engages in community organizing to encourage social change. He is widely known for developing leadership among Latino immigrant communities.
Jonathan D. Sarna
Jonathan D. Sarna is professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. He is co-author of Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience and author of American Judaism: A History, which won the Jewish Book Council’s Jewish Book of the Year Award in 2004.
Fenggang Yang directs the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University. He is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books, including Religion in China: Survival and Revival Under Communist Rule. He is also an expert in Asian immigration and Eastern religions.
David W. Wills
David W. Wills is Winthrop H. Smith ’16 Professor of American History and American Studies in the religion and black studies departments at Amherst College in Amherst, Mass. He is general editor of “African-American Religion: A Documentary History Project.” Wills is a historian of religion in the U.S. with particular emphasis on African-American religious history.
He is author of the chapter “Exodus Piety: African American Religion in an Age of Immigration” in the book Minority Faiths and the American Protestant Mainstream.
Immigration History Research Center
The Immigration History Research Center is based at the University of Minnesota. It is an interdisciplinary research center that brings together a variety of scholars. Erika Lee is director.
Center for Latino Studies in the Americas
The Center for Latino Studies in the Americas (CELASA) at the University of San Francisco fosters the interdisciplinary analysis of the social, economic, political, and cultural realities of Latin Americans and of Latinos in the United States. Contact director, Karina Hodoyan.
Immigration & Ethnicity Institute
The Immigration & Ethnicity Institute at Florida International University has studied issues of religion and immigration.
Zolberg Center on Global Migration
The Zolberg Center on Global Migration is at the New School University in New York City.
Population Studies Center
The Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan is a leading resource for information about demographic trends in the United States. The center has access to dozens of scholars and experts. It has a page providing links to experts in specific fields.
The Migration Program of the Social Science Research Council in New York City studies the interrelationship of migration and religion. Josh DeWind is director.
Center for Religion & Civic Culture
The Center for Religion & Civic Culture at the University of Southern California has a principal focus on the study of religion and immigration and its various manifestations. The executive director of the center is Donald E. Miller, Firestone Professor of Religion at USC. Contact Brie Loskota.
Center for Immigration Research
The Center for Immigration Research at the University of Houston previously had a Religion and Migration Project. Jessica Brown is its director.
Among faith groups, the Catholic Church in the United States has always been one of the most vocal and prominent advocates for immigrants. Part of this is due to its size; with more than 65 million Catholics, the church is by far the largest single denomination, and that means the bishops’ views will be given a hearing. But that size is also due to the large and steady influx of Catholics from other countries in the past 200 years. Once it was the Irish, Italians and Eastern Europeans. Today it is immigration from Latin America and Asia that is reinforcing, and transforming, the Catholic Church.
Virgilio Elizondo is a professor of pastoral and Hispanic theology at the University of Notre Dame and a fellow at the Institute for Latino Studies and Kellogg Institute. He is widely considered the “father of Hispanic theology” and frequently comments on the intersection of Latino culture and religion.
Kevin Appleby is director of the Office of Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which works with both grass-roots Catholic groups and the bishops to advocate for immigration reform.
Allan Figueroa Deck
Allan Figueroa Deck is a lecturer of pastoral studies in Spanish at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He has commented on the importance of Hispanics to the Catholic Church in the United States.
David Badillo is associate professor of Latin American and Puerto Rican studies at Lehman College at the City University of New York and author of Latinos and the New Immigrant Church, about the Catholic Church.
William Donohue is president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, an organization that is akin to a Catholic counterpart to the Anti-Defamation League.
He has said that if the Catholic Church wants to restore its credibility in the U.S., particularly among Latinos, it needs to speak out on issues such as immigration.
Evangelical Christians are often, and mistakenly, viewed as a white, politically conservative bloc of loyal Republicans. But the influx of Latino evangelicals has helped to create splits and tensions among evangelicals in the United States. Moreover, many leading conservative evangelicals have backed the immigration reform in Congress, causing a political rupture with other conservatives, especially in the Republican Party.
Amy Bliss Tenney
Amy Bliss Tenney is an immigration legal services attorney for World Relief, the development arm of the National Association of Evangelicals. World Relief is involved with refugee resettlement.
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. He has criticized conservative evangelicals who have spoken against or have remained silent on immigration and argued that the August 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, was driven, in part, by anti-immigrant rhetoric. Arrange an interview through the Kairos Co.
Russell Moore is director of the Public Theology Project at Christianity Today.
The Rev. Richard Cizik is president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. He seeks to bring evangelical Christians, researchers and policymakers together to work on issues such as climate change, economic justice and national security.
The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good supports comprehensive immigration reform.
Richard Land is president of the nondenominational Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, N.C., and previously served for 25 years as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
View a clip of Land discussing immigration with Glenn Beck on May 9, 2013.
The Rev. Jim Wallis is a Christian author and commentator and the founder of Sojourners magazine, a periodical that tries to promote social change through Christian values. He has served on the White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and can comment on policies related to race, immigration and other religion-related issues. Arrange an interview through Meredith Brasher.
He has supported immigration reform.
Leaders of the mainline Protestant churches and related organizations have generally supported immigration reform, on scriptural and other grounds. These denominations are trying, with varying degrees of success, to attract ethnic and racial minorities to their predominantly white churches. Their support for immigrants is also in keeping with their moderate to liberal political stances.
Rick Ufford-Chase is the founder of BorderLinks, a nonprofit, faith-based educational organization in Tucson, Ariz., that focuses on cross-border relationship building opportunities, issues of immigration, community formation and development, and social justice in the borderlands between Mexico, the U.S., and beyond. He was also the moderator of the 216th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Linda Hartke is the president of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, an organization that serves both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. It helps resettle refugees, protect unaccompanied refugee children, advocate for the just treatment of asylum seekers and seek alternatives to detention for those incarcerated during immigration proceedings.
American Jews have traditionally taken a strong stand on behalf of immigrants and refugees because of Judaism’s teachings on the issue and because of the lifeline that immigration – especially to America – has provided for persecuted Jews. Also, Jewish immigrants often faced the same prejudices and difficulties that today’s immigrants face.
Aaron Gershowitz is director of refugee & immigrant services at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS). Gershowitz is responsible for the overall direction and management of HIAS’ domestic refugee resettlement and immigration services programs.
Lia Lindsey is the Policy Impact Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization that involves itself in a wide range of U.S. policy issues including immigration.
Dr. Aseem Shukla
Dr. Aseem Shukla is a urologist and a member of the board of directors of the Hindu American Foundation, a human rights group that says it favors a more humane immigration policy.
The nation’s Islamic community has been at the center of the immigration debate, though not always for the best reasons. Immigration fears spiked after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and amid the subsequent war in Iraq and escalating concerns over terror attacks by radical Muslims who may be allowed into the country. Islamic groups have generally supported immigration reform as a way to protect the rights of Muslims and to ensure that they receive equal treatment. Immigrants are also a leading source of new congregants for American mosques. Opponents of immigration often cite concerns about terrorism in order to thwart reforms. Experts say that has made many Muslims and Islamic groups wary of speaking out on behalf of reform legislation.
Council on American-Islamic Relations
The Council on American-Islamic Relations says it is the largest advocacy group for Muslims in the U.S. It advocates for Muslims on issues related to civil liberties and justice. Contact communications director Ibrahim Hooper in Washington, D.C.
The Council has supported attempts at immigration reform.
Khaled Abou El Fadl
Khaled Abou El Fadl is an internationally recognized law professor and the Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Fellow in Islamic Law at the University of California, Los Angeles. He teaches a course on Islamic law and has also taught about Middle Eastern investment law, immigration law and human rights and terrorism. His books include Speaking in God’s Name: Islamic Law, Authority and Women, and he wrote the entry on Shariah for The Oxford University Handbook of Islam and Politics.
Abou El Fadl gave testimony to the 9/11 Commission regarding Muslim views on immigration reform and the impact of stricter immigration enforcement on Muslims.
In the Northeast
George J. Borjas
George J. Borjas is the Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. An immigrant from Cuba, he is the author of Heaven’s Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy (Princeton University Press, 1999) and supports restrictions on immigration.
Mark J. Miller
Mark J. Miller is the Emma Smith Morris Professor of political science and international relations at the University of Delaware. His research focuses on comparative immigration and refugee policies, global migration and migration and security.
Jennifer Johnson is a senior associate specializing in Mexico and the U.S./Mexico border with the Latin America Working Group (LAWG), based in Washington, D.C., a nonprofit coalition including many religious groups that encourages the U.S. to develop policies toward Latin America that promote human rights, justice and peace.
Douglas S. Massey
Douglas S. Massey is a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. He also is co-director of the Mexican Migration Project, which compiles a year-by-year history of Mexican migration to the United States based on interviews with migrants. He is co-author of Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Immigration in an Era of Economic Integration (Russell Sage Foundation Publications, 2003).
Joseph Nevins is an assistant professor of geography at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He is the author of Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the ‘Illegal Alien’ and the Making of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (Routledge, 2002).
Emilio A. Parrado
Emilio A. Parrado is the associate director of the Population Studies Center and a professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He has done research on the impact of immigration both on communities in the United States and in Mexico, including the responses of public schools to rising numbers of Hispanic students.
Ada María Isasi-Díaz
Thomas Ogletree is a United Methodist minister and the Frederick Marquand professor emeritus of theological ethics at Yale Divinity School. He has said he believes the debate over homosexuality indicates the church will eventually change its position.
He wrote a 1998 article, “Recreating America: The Ethics of US Immigration Policy in a Christian Perspective,” for the Journal of the American Academy of Religion.
In the South
The Rev. Paul Brant is a Jesuit priest from Charlottesville, N.C., who works with the Institute on Migration, Culture and Ministry, which advances ministry with and on behalf of immigrants and refugees, specifically Hispanic immigrants. For a time he celebrated Mass on Sunday mornings in a laundry where migrants would come to wash their clothes for the week. He’s also organized a grass-roots effort encouraging immigrants, congregations, employers and others to urge Congress to pass immigration reform.
Héctor Fernández-L’Hoeste is a professor of modern and classical languages and director of the Center for Latin American and Latino/a Studies at Georgia State University.
Dr. Raleigh Bailey is the founding director of the Center for New North Carolinians, established in 2001 by the University of North Carolina board of governors as a resource to the state university system in immigrant outreach, research, and training.
Hernan Prado is the CEO of Hola Latino and the founder, president and CEO of the Alabama Latin American Association.
Dan Cornfield is a sociology professor at Vanderbilt University. He has studied the experience of Latino and other immigrants in midsized U.S. cities such as Nashville.
Nestor Rodriguez is a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. He can speak about the impact of the 1996 immigration act and about migrant deaths at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Rev. Harold Recinos is a professor of church and society at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. He has worked with immigrants in the United States and abroad and studies issues related to immigrants and refugees in the United States.
Ruben Martinez is a writer, performer and teacher and the son of immigrants — his father is from Mexico, and his mother from El Salvador. Martinez is the author of The New Americans, which tells the stories of seven immigrant families and is the companion book to a PBS series on immigration from 2003. He also wrote Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail. Contact through Susan Bergholz.
Jacqueline Hagan is a distinguished professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests include religion and migration. She is the author of Migration Miracle: Faith, Hope and Meaning on the Undocumented Journey.
Helen Rose Ebaugh
Helen Rose Ebaugh is a professor of sociology at the University of Houston who specializes in the sociology of religion as well as religion and new immigrants.
In the Midwest
The Rev. Daniel Groody is an associate professor of theology and global affairs at the University of Notre Dame and director of the global leadership program within the university’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies. He is an expert on migration and refugee issues and has consulted for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Congress and the Vatican.
Luis Alberto Urrea
Luis Alberto Urrea is a writer and a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Urrea, a native of Tijuana, was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction for his book The Devil’s Highway: A True Story (Little, Brown & Co., 2004). The book chronicles the attempt 26 Mexican men made in May 2001 to cross the desert into southern Arizona. Only 12 survived.
Silvia Pedraza is a professor of sociology and American culture at the University of Michigan. She has written about Cuban and Mexican immigration to the United States.
Joshua Hoyt is executive director of the National Partnership for News Americans, which works to advance the integration and citizenship of immigrants. Media contact is Charlie McAteer. Until 2013, Hoyt was the chief strategy executive of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, which supports comprehensive immigration reform, including family reunification and a path to citizenship for undocumented workers. Its members include many religious and interfaith organizations.
Oscar Chacón is the executive director of the National Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean Communities (NALACC) whose mission is to bring about a more equitable and sustainable way of life for Latin American immigrant communities in the U.S.A.
Teresa Morrow is vice president for external relations and marketing with the Minneapolis Foundation which works on various community issues including immigration.
Timothy Miller is a historian of American religion in the religious studies department at the University of Kansas. His expertise is in new and alternative religions, and he has written about the impact of the influx of Eastern spirituality after the 1965 immigration reform act.
In the West
Daniel J. Tichenor
Daniel J. Tichenor is the Philip H. Knight professor of social science, senior faculty fellow at the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics and a professor of political science at the University of Oregon. He is the author of Dividing Lines: The Politics of Immigration Control in America (Princeton University Press, 2002).
Wayne Cornelius is a distinguished professor emeritus of political science and U.S.-Mexico relations at the University of California at San Diego and the director emeritus of the university’s Center for Comparative Immigration Studies and is co-editor of Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective (Stanford University Press, 2004).
Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson is a fifth-generation Californian, a farmer, a classicist and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is the author of Mexifornia: A State of Becoming (Encounter Books, 2004), in which he argues that California is being transformed by illegal immigration from Mexico. Contact Hanson through the Hoover Institute’s public affairs office.
Uriel Iniguez is the executive director of the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs which looks to improve public policy development and the delivery of government services to the Hispanic community.