Immigration reform remains a divisive issue, but everyone wants to see immigrants thrive in the United States.
So says a recent report issued by the Barna Group, which highlights language and work as the key elements for successful integration.

Barna’s survey found that 69 percent of Hispanics in the U.S. are legal residents or citizens, 19 percent are non-residents, and 12 percent were unsure or declined to answer.

In addition, 50 percent of Hispanics currently in the U.S. were born here and, on average, Hispanic Americans have lived in the U.S. for 25 years.

Politicians including President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have emphasized that immigrants should learn English.

This is consistent with the view of the American public, as confirmed in a recent Gallup poll.

The Barna Group’s report revealed that a majority of Hispanic Americans speak some English, with only 3 percent speaking no English at all.

While 47 percent of persons who took the survey in Spanish reported that they speak “just a little” English, 30 percent stated they spoke English “pretty well” and 20 percent responded that they spoke English “very well.”

Regarding language spoken at church, 43 percent preferred bilingual services, 32 percent English only and 25 percent Spanish only.

Respondents noted that 50 percent of the services they attended were in English and Spanish, suggesting that local churches have recognized the need for, and benefit of, bilingual worship gatherings.

Javier Elizondo, dean of academic affairs of the South Texas School of Christian Studies in Corpus Christi, discussed language trends in Hispanic Baptist congregations in a column for’s recent church trends series.

The Barna Group report is available here.

Editor’s note: “Gospel Without Borders,”’s documentary on faith and immigration, brings more light and less heat to the issue by separating myth from fact and examining what the Bible says about treatment of the “stranger.” To find out more, click here. To order, click here.

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