WASHINGTON A vast majority of conservative Christians feel illegal immigrants should be treated humanely but should be detected, arrested, and returned to their country or origin, an informal survey by an influential conservative Christian lobbying group found.
The online survey of thousands of values voters was taken by the Family Research Council against the backdrop of a raging debate over immigration nationwide.
According to the survey, some 16 percent of values voters feel stopping illegal immigration is their number one priority. The figure places the issue in fourth place, behind protecting human life from abortion at 38 percent, judicial activism at 22 percent, and protecting man-woman marriage at 19 percent.
When it comes to how to resolve illegal immigration issues however, correspondents were nearly homogenous in their response. As of Wednesday morning, 54 percent of those polled felt the best way to deal with the illegal immigrants residing in the United States is to establish strong enforcement policies and impost fines on businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Some 22 percent called for guest worker programs, another 22 percent wanted to arrest and deport as many of the 12 million illegal immigrants as possible and only two percent wanted to provide amnesty and naturalized citizenship to the illegal residents.
Results also found that only 10 percent of values voters feel illegal immigrants are strangers searching for a better life and should be welcomed. The remaining 90 percent wants the immigrants to be detected, arrested, and returned to their country of origin.
Some 95 percent said Congress should commit funds and resources to develop border security and 80 percent agreed that Congress should if necessary, build a border fence along the U.S.-Mexican border and deploy U.S. armed forces.
The results starkly contrast the views of the millions of protestors who marched in a series of pro-immigration rallies across the nation in recent weeks.
In Washington, where FRC is based, an estimated 500,000 people from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Colombia covered several city blocks Monday from the Washington Monument to the Capitol building. Smaller rallies were held in over 140 cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, and Chicago.
According to the National Capital Immigration Coalition, supporters of immigrant rights may launch an economic boycott at the workplaces unless Congress passes comprehensive reforms that would provide a path to citizenship, develop guest worker programs, and ensure civil rights protection for all those residing in the U.S.