A study from the Pew Research Center recently reported that the United States continues to be the top destination for emigrating individuals of the Buddhist and Christian faith. According to the Pew study, 74 percent of all foreign-born people living in the United States are Christian. The United States is the second top destination for Hindus and Jews, behind India for the former and Israel for the latter. Muslim immigrants, however, flock more often to Saudi Arabia, Russia, Germany, France and Jordan than they do to the United States.
A steady stream of individuals who are Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu, among others, have greatly changed the religious makeup of the United States in the last century. While two-thirds of the U.S. population were Protestant in 1960, only about half of the population follows the faith today, according to the report.
While many come to the United States in hopes of gaining citizenship in a country where they are not persecuted for their faith, several faith leaders have seen those who come to the country without proper immigration and naturalization forms still oppressed, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.
Often using stories from religious texts as their guides, spiritual leaders from across the nation believe that immigration is largely part of the human experience, and should be given more respect and credence by outsiders.
“It’s a humanitarian issue,” Reverend Peter Morales told the Wall Street Journal. Morales, who is a Unitarian minister in Arizona, was arrested in 2010 for protesting the state’s immigration laws.
Cambridge, Massachusetts, spiritual leader Christopher Hope, who is the reach-out director of Pentecostal Tabernacle, often uses Jesus’ emigration from Egypt to Israel as inspiration, looking at the Bible passage that reads, “the stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you.”