US Immigration History, Laws, and Protestant Christian Responses

  • Ruth M. Melkonian-Hoover
  • Lyman A. Kellstedt
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy book series (PSRPP)


In this chapter we look back at American history to understand patterns of immigration, immigration policymaking, and Protestant reactions, mainline and evangelical, drawing out similarities and distinctions for today’s environment. We make use of historical scholarship, government, think tank, and denominational resources. In the 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s, we consider how the political climate, the religious landscape, the particular resources Protestants could bring to bear, and the ways in which Protestants understood the moral and spiritual significance of immigrants, all affected their engagement on immigration. We find that Protestants, and evangelicals in particular, were driven at times by values of mercy, those of justice, and other times by greed, insecurity, and/or prejudice. We discern ongoing patterns of welcome, rejection, and hesitation.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth M. Melkonian-Hoover
    • 1
  • Lyman A. Kellstedt
    • 2
  1. 1.Gordon CollegeWenhamUSA
  2. 2.Wheaton CollegeWheatonUSA

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