Intervening in Attitudes about Immigration
The goal of the proposed project is to understand whether and how exposure to information about contemporary immigrants and immigration affects Americans’ attitudes toward immigrants, Latinos, and Asians. The project relies on an experimental survey in which US-born adults (both White and non-White) read accurate information about (a) current trends in net and undocumented immigration, (b) the composition of the immigrant population in terms of race/ethnicity and skills, (c) immigrants’ English language acquisition, (d) crime rates among immigrants, (d) immigrants’ tax contributions and social service receipt, and (e) immigrants’ employment rates.
The results may shed light on the nature and sources of anti-immigrant attitudes. A substantial academic literature examines whether anti-immigrant attitudes are rooted in competition for economic resources, cultural threat, and/or status concerns. The proposed project contributes to this literature, relying on the following insight: If we understand the kinds of information that mitigate anti-immigrant attitudes, we will also learn something about the source(s) of such attitudes. On a practical front, the results could be used in messaging campaigns designed to counteract the effects of demographic threat. To this end, study participants will be exposed to accurate information about immigration based on reliable academic and policy research.
Funding support for Intervening in Attitudes about Immigration is provided by the the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).