Religious breakdown of the vote on S.2611

VFR reader James R. has put together some fascinating information on how senators voted for the immigration bill by religious affiliation. He writes:

I did a search to find out if Larry Craig is a Mormon, as southern Idaho is essentially an extension of open borders-friendly Mormon Utah. As I learned at Wikipedia, he’s not. Harry Reid is a Mormon, and Senate Mormons voted 3-2 in favor of the bill. However, by cross referencing the Wikipedia list of senators by religious affiliation with the Senate vote tally you posted at VFR, I found that Catholics voted 19-4 yes, with Bunning, Santorum, Sununu and Vitter voting no (Salazar did not vote). Jews voted 11-0 yes. The combined Catholic-Jewish vote was 30-4 in favor. Subtracting those 30 yes votes and 4 no votes from the 62-36 vote of the entire Senate leaves the remaining Senators voting 32-32.

Here is a list of just the Catholics and Jews:

Catholics—Yes (19)


Catholics—No (4)


(Ken Salazar did not vote. Why not? It would have been yes)

Jews—All yes (11)


To sum up James’s findings, it was the Catholic and Jewish contingents that made the vote lopsided in favor of this bill. At the same time, the Protestants (and the Mormons—I had no idea there were five Mormons in the U.S. Senate) are not off the hook either, as half of them voted for S.2611 as well. Still, the message is striking. Senate Jews (unanimously) and Senate Catholics (overwhelmingly) are pro-open borders and turn the Senate from what would otherwise be an evenly divided body into a heavily open-borders body.

All of which leads to the question: Can immigration restrictionists make any headway against the open-borders ideology without addressing the ethno-religious components of the support for that ideology? For example, let’s say we find ourselves, as I found myself recently, in a meeting where the immigration of Muslims or Mexicans is being discussed, and it turns out that the people at the table who vociferously object to any immigration restrictions, who indeed say that the very idea of excluding any group is immoral and illiberal, are all Catholics and Jews. Could one civilly point this fact out? Could one say that the Catholics and Jews in that discussion are pro-open borders because they think they are religiously obligated to support open borders, or because they still identify too much with their families’ immigration background, or because Catholics want to bring in lots of Catholic Hispanics? Could one legitimately say that this shows that they are thinking too much in terms of their own group and not of the well-being of the society as whole?

I think the answer is yes. If Catholics and Jews are resting on their Catholicism or Jewishness to support policies ruinous to our society, while using highly emotional and moralistic arguments to silence disagreement, then that ought to be discussed.

This is not a call for ad hominem or bigoted arguments. If an entire group is lopsidedly on one side of an issue, then clearly the opinions of the individual members of that group are not determined solely by a rational concern for the common good leading to logical conclusions individually arrived at (since, if they were so arrived at, the distribution of opinions in that group would be similar to that of the general population); they are determined by something about the group itself. So the group’s history, beliefs, and motives become a legitimate part of the debate. If we can publicly discuss why liberals as a group or agribusiness interests as a group are in favor of open borders, we should be able to discuss why Catholics as a group or Jews as a group are in favor of open borders.

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James adds:

Imagine the clamor from the liberal elite, separation-of-church-and-state supporters of this “No Mexican Left Behind” bill if Baptists and Methodists voted 30-4 in favor of restricting or abolishing a woman’s “right” to an abortion.

RJ Stove writes from Australia:

I am a Catholic. For what it’s worth, I shall always be a Catholic, and would rather die than cease to be a Catholic, thanks to reasons not worth going into here. Seems to me that one factor motivating so many Catholics, above all American Catholics, to vote for catastrophic immigration policies hasn’t been mentioned at all …

Even now, 40 years after Vatican II’s disastrous results and four years after the first big clerical sex scandals in the States, Joe Average Catholic tends to do what he is told. This means that the job of a leftist infiltrator is, or at least can be, rather easier vis-à-vis Catholics than it is vis-à-vis naturally disputatious Protestant groups. He only needs to infiltrate a very few circles.

Once he has got the Catholic bishops on side, his job is effectively finished. The bishops will treat with contempt any priest or layman who opposes the episcopate’s predominant pansy-leftism. I know several Catholic priests, here in Australia and elsewhere, who are firm in such opposition. You can recognize them by one factor. Their parishes are all situated in multiculti dumps. Glamorous parishes go to others, who can be relied on never to rock the New Class boat.

Absent the Catholic bishops from the whole indiscriminate-immigration zoo, and you would not have an indiscriminate-immigration zoo. Thanks be to God, American Catholic bishops are a bit more on the defensive now than they were ten years ago. (This of course has its own problems: by now they could say “2+2=4” and no-one would believe them.) Would that the bishops elsewhere could have the frighteners put on them by Catholic laity in similar fashion. But an American Catholic bishop on the defensive is still much more formidable an operator than most people will ever manage to be.

I’ll bet $10 that each and every one of those Catholic politicians who voted for the bill was being inundated with calls from the Catholic bishops.

Jeremy, who is Jewish, writes:

I think it was unfair to lump Catholics together with Jews. [LA note: meaning it was unfair to the Catholics.]

1) Jews voted 100% for the war against America, while Catholics voted 83% in favor, according to your numbers. This is a small but notable difference. For example, if the legislation passed were even more revoltingly anti-American, it probably would have received less Catholic senator support, but may not have budged the Jewish senators. These Jewish senators thought the legislation was too compromising of their liberal principles in many respects.

2) White Catholics may welcome Hispanics because they are Catholics, as you mentioned. Thus there is perceived self-interest at stake here that we can oppose with reasoned criticism of their position. The Jews voted completely without consideration of their self interests and it is beyond me how one reasons with such people.

3) I suspect that white Catholic voters are more evenly divided than the Catholic senators on this issue, while Jewish senators are largely in lock-step with the Jewish masses.

LA replies:

Jeremy, I disagree with you on this. The breakdown is stunning, it involves both groups, it’s a significant story. I do not get much into the details, but the overall picture. If I did get more into the details, I could say the Catholic numbers are more significant because Catholics are both Democrats and Republicans, yet Catholic Republicans are still open borders; while Jews as everyone knows are liberal, so voting open borders is seen as merely consistent with that and therefore less significant.

Jeremy replies:

I think the breakdown is significant in that it may illuminate a method for counteracting white Catholic support for amnesty (and the importance of doing so given their strong support for amnesty), namely by convincing them that although Hispanics are fellow Catholics, they are uneducated, have low skills, have low IQs, etc and so they will continue to be poor, commit relatively more crimes, will generally vote for the Democracts in order to get welfare, affirmative action, etc and will thus increasingly empower the left. I have heard Jared Taylor speak about (and also read on VDARE) Hispanic illegitimacy rates, teen age pregnacy, reconquista and hatred for America, etc all of which all help diminish this open fantasizing among white Catholics (I didn’t realize until your blog today that those fantasizing about the pure and moral Hispanics were probably white Catholics). Any white Catholic hope for a moral resurgence or increased Catholic influence due to Hispanics is a pipe dream and this should be made clear again and again because it may be their perception that the Hispanic influx will improve the country and that they would make good allies against liberals that is driving them to support amnesty. Remember that a substantial portion of Republicans openly fantasize about Hispanics being won over by Bush’s Hispanic friendly policies…

Regarding the Jewish question, it makes no difference to them if the influx improves or degrades the country, if it benefits Jews or not. They feel they have a moral obligation to do this. And this moral obligation is not actually based on the Jewish Bible although some of them may claim it is. So you can’t even go to the Bible to convince them they are wrong. It is based on pure vanity! I think this is the crux of the voting breakdown. That it is possible that Catholics can be reasoned with from the standpoint of what is good for America and that they must be reasoned with, but that the opinions of the Jews will be far more difficult to change…

Igor points out that almost all the Jewish senators who voted for open borders are Democrats anyway, while the majority of the Catholic who are Republican voted for the bill:

I wonder if David Duke and his philo-anti-Semite fellow travellers at AR and MR [?] will raise a big stink about this Catholic betrayal (83% of Catholic senators voted for this) and attribute it to a Papal conspiracy or some evolutionary group strategy. Will they accuse them of a dual loyalty or internationalism? Will they accuse them of trying to weaken the Protestant character of America or being anti-Protestant?

Out of all the Catholics that voted for it, 12 are Democrats and 7 are Republicans. The 4 who voted against it are all Republicans. Compare that with the 11 Jews who voted for it. They are overwhelmingly Democratic (9 out of 11) and only 2 are Republican (Specter and Coleman). Actually, I’m going to bring down that number to 1 because Specter is an untrustworthy RINO. Since Democrats of both faiths voted unanimously for cultural suicide, we can only trust the Republicans. Or can we?

The sample is obviously too small with the Jews since it’s really only one Jewish Republican (Coleman) who voted for it, but with the Catholics, the majority of Republican Catholics (7 out of 11, or 64%) want open borders. It’s too simplistic and evil to blame “the Jews” for mass immigration. The problem is much bigger than the lobbying groups and the ADL combined. As you’ve pointed out many times, this suicidal tendency is a self-inflicted Western disease and it affects Catholics almost as much as Jews. I’m sure that must drive the anti-Semites absolutely batty!

(Here are further data on the vote breakdown of Episcopalian senators.)

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 26, 2006 01:35 AM | Send

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