Immigrant-bashers will lose the evangelical vote

Immigrants are convicted of crimes at rates significantly lower than native-born American citizens, and this has been true for decades. A recent report from the American Immigration Council found that about 1.6% of immigrant men between the ages of 18 and 39 were incarcerated, compared with 3.3% of native-born American citizens in the same age range. Among men in that age range without a high-school diploma, the incarceration rate for Mexican immigrants is less than one-third of that of native-born American citizens.

The two of us don’t know a single evangelical voter, of any ethnicity, who is supporting Donald Trump. That is due to many factors, including his revolving-door marriages and past support for abortion. But candidates who actually have a shot at winning the presidency should understand: Immigrant-bashing offends not only Hispanic people, but also their Anglo, African-American and Asian-American fellow Christians.

The typical immigrant is not likely, statistically speaking, to be a rapist or a murderer. But he or she is quite likely to be a Bible-believing Christian. A Pew Research study found that about one in four American evangelicals is nonwhite, up from 19% in 2007. That growth is driven in large part by immigrants and their children. For evangelicals, immigrants aren’t merely a political issue, they are the families in the next pew. The church of Jesus Christ is a household: When our brothers and sisters are maligned, the whole body of Christ suffers with them.