In this project, I explore how religion explains the variation in US Latinxs’ attitudes toward immigration policy, specifically policies related to the US-Mexico border. This project contributes by exploring an understudied measure of religion in the attitudes toward immigration literature, the importance of religion in daily life.
For this study, I primarily worked within the attitudes toward immigration literature and US Latinx religion & politics literature. I used logistic regression analysis with a Latinx subsample from the 2020 Cooperative Election Study dataset.
This study finds that the importance of religion has a conservatizing effect among Latinx respondents. Latinx Americans who say religion is very important in their life were more likely to support policies that increased the number of border patrol officers and funding for border security than those who say religion is not at all important in their life. Additionally, I test an interaction effect between political ideology and the importance of religion, where I find that the importance of religion has a conservatizing effect only among Latinxs who say are very liberal, liberal, and moderates.
This study’s findings significantly impact our understanding of US Latinx politics by highlighting how religiosity matters more than religious affiliation. Currently, the media generalizes the divide in US Latinx politics through religion, stating that Latinx Protestants are likely to be conservative and Republican while Latinx Catholics and non-affiliated are likely to be liberal and Democrat. However, my study shows these divisions do not apply to every public policy issue. Through US-Mexico border policies, we see that religious salience is a better explanatory variable to analyze the variation of US Latinx politics.