Category: Assignment 1 (page 1 of 4)

NY-14 & TX-18 Presentation

By Tori Gorton and Samantha Goerger


Despite the 1600 mile separation and drastically different state politics, two congressional districts from New York and Texas are surprisingly similar in regards to their action and inaction on the question of immigration. To explore the next steps in immigrant policymaking, we compared NY14 and TX18, situated in New York City and Houston, respectively. Both seats have been Democratic strongholds for at least the last 10 years. Demographically, NY14’s population is 47% foreign born and 76% non-white, while TX18’s population is 23% foreign born and 84% non-White.  According to extant research on demographics and immigrant representation, NY14 and TX18 should have permissive and comprehensive immigration reform policies.  While both Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY14) and Shelia Jackson Lee (TX18) hold extremely liberal views on immigration, we find the articulation of said views to be lacking. We, therefore, propose that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sheila Jackson Lee better represent their local immigrant populations through increased vocalization of immigration-related issues, expanding the already extensive welfare programs to aid immigrant integration in NY14, and pushing for TX18 to become a sanctuary city.  Despite the aforementioned counter-arguments, we believe that our representatives could better represent on immigration by centering the needs of their immigrant communities. Expanding access to welfare, being more vocal about immigrant needs, and adopting sanctuary city policies would foster a safer, fairer, and more welcoming environment for their constituents.


Safety in Numbers?

Pushing for greater representation of immigrant interests in NY14 & TX18

Despite the 1600 mile separation and drastically different state politics, two congressional districts from New York and Texas are surprisingly similar in regards to their action and inaction on the question of immigration. To explore the next steps in immigrant policymaking, we compared NY14 and TX18, situated in New York City and Houston, respectively. While the districts are very liberal, comprise a significant proportion of immigrants, and – according to existing research – should be pushing for permissive/comprehensive immigration reform, we find the articulation of local immigrant interests to be lacking in both places. We, therefore, propose that our members of Congress could better represent immigrants through increasing vocalization of immigration-related issues, expanding welfare to aid immigrant integration in NY14, and pushing for TX18 to become a sanctuary city.


NY14 contains two NYC neighborhoods: Astoria and the Bronx. It is currently represented by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), a freshman Democrat in the House of Congress. TX18 contains much of inner city Houston as well as a significant portion of the greater metropolitan area. It is currently represented by Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat who has held the district’s congressional seat since 1995. Both seats have been Democratic strongholds for at least the last 10 years. Demographically, NY14’s population is 47% foreign born and 76% non-white, while TX18’s population is 23% foreign born and 84% non-White. Despite TX18 having a distinctly lower foreign born population than NY14, both are considered large in comparison to the national level of 13% foreign born. In addition, the population of TX18 is younger than that of NY14, similarly educated, and of slightly lower income. Aside from some small differences, the two districts are relatively comparable; however, they are disparate in their geographic context with TX18 being far more proximate to the southern border and in a Republican state, while NY14 is far removed from country borders and situated in a Democratic state.

Extant research shows that the size of the Latinx population is negatively correlated with support for strict enforcement of immigration laws. Democrats have also been found to be less likely to favor restrictive immigration policies. Research also shows that districts with large minority populations are less likely to apply for 287(g) – a punitive federal program that provides training for local law enforcement to become able to facilitate ICE procedures. Moreover, members of Congress who identify as a race other than White are more likely to support permissive immigration policy. Finally, members of Congress in areas that have seen protests on the issue of immigration are more likely to be supportive of permissive policy. Both TX18’s and NY14’s characteristics, demographics, and histories – i.e. their high Latinx population, Democratic members of Congress, large minority populations, non-White representatives, and experience with protests (May Day in both, June 2018) – align with the aforementioned research to predict that their members of Congress will be very likely to back permissive immigration policy. For both members of Congress, 7% of their bill (co)sponsorships from the current Congress are focused on immigration and all bills can be considered as permissive, if not comprehensive.

In spite of this, there is a clear gap between the supposed progressiveness of AOC’s and Lee’s and their public commitment to the issue. Despite purporting notions of “immigration justice” and the desire to “abolish ICE” on her website, AOC’s very active Twitter account only features immigration-related content 6% of the time in recent periods. Similarly, Lee’s website espouses that she is “one of the most outspoken proponents of comprehensive immigration reform in the Congress.” However, only 15% of recent content on Lee’s Twitter feed discusses immigration, 6.4% of issue discussion on her government website, and immigration is not even part of her campaign website’s listed issues. This disconnect betwixt the members’ action in Congress and their articulation of local immigrant interests is a concern that we address with three previously mentioned ideas.

Consequently, we recommend that NY14 increase social welfare to aid immigrant incorporation in the district. This expansion in welfare could include expanding municipal ID cards by making it easier for immigrants to prove their identity, and include local voting benefits through the ID program such as exists in New Haven. Further, AOC should work to expand subway subsidy programs, because public transit is imperative for living, working, and going to school, especially in NYC. That said, it could be argued that NYC is already implementing extensive programs aimed to aid immigrants and minorities, so expansion may not be a top priority.

Our second recommendation is for Sheila Jackson Lee to push for Houston to become a sanctuary city. Research shows that economies are stronger and crime is significantly lower in sanctuary cities as compared to those in non-sanctuary cities. Another study of immigrant communities showed that increased involvement of police in immigration enforcement has significantly heightened the fears many Latinos have of the police, contributing to their social isolation and exacerbating their mistrust of law enforcement authorities. Thus, sanctuary city status for Houston would extend greater protections to its immigrant community – particularly the undocumented segment – and increase the overall safety of the community by allowing Latinos and immigrants to have a safer relationship with law enforcement. A counter-argument to making Houston a sanctuary city is that the policies required are expensive which presents a burden to legal taxpayers and local governments; it is estimated to have cost taxpayers around $113 billion to fund American sanctuary cities in 2013 (with the majority borne by those local to the respective locales).

Finally, we recommend for both Sheila Jackson Lee and AOC to increase their vocalization on immigrant issues – particularly in the local context in hopes to increase the saliency of local immigrant interests, incite change, and aid immigrant integration. A counter-argument to this proposition is that the demographics of both districts have been very stable over the last 10 years, which suggests a stable public opinion on immigration, thereby, not warranting either of the Congresswomen to devote more resources to the issue.

Despite the aforementioned counter-arguments, we believe that our representatives could better represent on immigration by centering the needs of their immigrant communities. Expanding access to welfare, being more vocal about immigrant needs, and adopting sanctuary city policies would foster a safer, fairer, and more welcoming environment for their constituents.


New Jersey District 6 (NJ-06) and Texas District 7 (TX-07): The Politics of Immigration

Arman Badrei and Rohan Shah


In the 6th congressional district of New Jersey (NJ-06), Congressman Frank Pallone has represented his constituents since 1988, winning his elections in the last decade by large margins. The district, which covers Middlesex County and Monmouth County, has been a Democratic stronghold.


The 7th congressional district of Texas (TX-07) was represented by Representative John Culberson of the  Republican Party for more than a decade. In the 2018 midterm elections, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher turned TX-07 blue.


Both NJ-06 and TX-07 are majority-minority districts as of 2017. Over a ten-year period since 2007, the white population decreased, while Latino and Asian populations increased in both districts. The white population decline was greater in TX-07 but the growth of the Latino and Asian populations were slightly greater in NJ-06. The foreign-born, or immigrant, populations expanded in both districts, with a 5.2 percentage point increase in NJ-06 compared to an 8 percentage point increase in TX-07.


We both used certain scholarly work as a framework and motive for analyzing certain factors and larger themes. In the examination of NJ-06, Chavez (2008) and Abrajano and Hajnal (2015) predicted that changes to the Asian population demographic neither caused the same negative reactions nor shifts in macropartisanship as that of changes in the Latino population. TX-07 proved to also be especially interesting under the lens of existing research.  According to research by Hopkins (2015), public opinion in areas can change as a result of “sudden, destabilizing changes” in local demographics. On a related note, Abrajano and Hajnal (2015) assert that whites living in states with more Latinos will tend to counter that growth by supporting more restrictive policymaking and movement towards the Republican Party.


To determine the accuracy of overlaying such research on our districts, we both conducted qualitative interview studies. The research concerning NJ-06 focused on evaluating the differences in perception to immigration news coverages of Asians versus Latinos. In exploring that significant aim, the research examined exposure to local and national news, perceived fairness of such news in respect to immigration, opinions of ethnic groups, and the effects of immigration news media on political affiliation and views. Interviews were conducted with Asian, Hispanic, Asian-Indian, and Non-Hispanic white constituents in NJ-06.  


Although the research on TX-07 had a media-centric angle, the study focused far more on the perception and effects of the growth of ethnic populations. Interviews were conducted with Christopher Harvey, the Legislative Assistant on Immigration for Rep. Fletcher, and Gislaine Williams, the Community Relations Director at The Alliance, a nonprofit that works with primarily refugees but also immigrants. Main topics of the interviews were the reception of immigrants, the effects of demographic changes, urban attitudes on immigration, and the political situation and attitudes of the district in general.


In comparing our results, we noted an intersection when evaluating the response to immigration politics in the media and demographic changes on the politics of each district. We included sample quotations that pertain to these categories.


In terms of media coverage, in NJ-06, interviewees held a fundamental distrust of both the local and national news media. Furthermore, media coverage of Asian immigration was seen as positive and advantageous for the American economy whereas that of the Latino population was believed to be negative and visceral. Significantly, the current immigration news coverage climate was determined to have a polarizing effect on personal political affiliation. In TX-07, both policymakers and nonprofit advocates understand the obvious influence of the media. Additionally, policymakers want to emphasize the danger of the dissemination of fake news. Now, in addition to being service providers for immigrant communities and entities for advocacy, it seems nonprofits are turning towards functioning as an instrument or facilitator in the media world too: Williams at The Alliance talked about how they “have also engaged media outlets because of that in trying to get the stories of local refugees in newspapers, in local news, local TV news, so that people are able to see refugees in a different light or are able to see a more comprehensive look into the community” and have led media training for refugee leaders to teach them how to write opinion pieces and press releases.


Both NJ-06 and TX-07 saw increases in the immigrant and Latino populations but our research indicates that this did not necessarily confer “white backlash” in respect to political affiliation. This is because the speed of such growth was rather constant, or perceived to be constant, and because President Trump’s politics played a more pivotal role than the issue of immigration which points to the rise in Democratic success since 2016. Polarization exists, but more so due to Trump rather than views on immigration specifically.


We recommend that our representatives, first and foremost, represent the views of all their constituents including citizens and non-citizens. However, we do understand the challenge in doing so. In TX-07, Harvey emphasized the difficulty in having polarity due to immigration and representing the views of a moderate district. Out of respect for the American electoral system, they should take a position that accommodates as many residents as possible. As the moderate nature of TX-07 demonstrates, simply representing based on the interests of political partisanship would ignore a large (or more specifically, half) of the electorate. Given the prevalence of immigration media coverage, representatives should actively demystify immigration policy decisions at the local and national levels to counter “fake news”, biases in the media, and transparency issues. As demonstrated with TX-07 and NJ-06, representatives should actively respond to demographic changes by having prescience about immigrant attitudes and promoting cross-cultural awareness to mitigate potential issues.

Texas 7th District Population Characteristics and Effects

Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (Democrat, TX-07)

Slide 1:

In terms of the racial and ethnic population makeup of Texas’ 7th district, the district has remained largely white and non-immigrant over the course of 10 years from 2007-2017, but there has been remarkable change in diversity. The Latino population has grown 6.6 percentage points and subsequently, the white alone and non-immigrant populations have decreased substantially. Furthermore, other minorities such as blacks and Asians have increased in size. In terms of the immigrant population, the foreign-born population has increased by 8 percentage points, with a higher increase in naturalized citizens over non-citizens.


Slide 2:

Existing research on how local population characteristics affect immigrant experiences, media coverage, and public opinions of immigration has been well-documented. In terms of immigrant experiences, Enos’ 2014 study shows that exposure to immigrants translates into more exclusionary attitudes for short periods of time (Enos 2014). These experiences also affect whites on the receiving end, as whites living in states with more Latinos are found to be more supportive of restrictive policymaking and generally identify with the Republican party (Abrajano and Hajnal 2015). News coverage of immigration has been found to push the immigrant threat narrative, cover immigration as a negative issue with pessimism, and focus on Latinos specifically (Abrajano and Hajnal 2015). Proximity to the border is an observed factor in determining the volume, sensationalism, and tone of immigration coverage, with more negative reception closer to the border (Branton, Dunaway 2009). Coverage often engages in agenda-setting, negative framing, and as a result, priming on the issue. In local public opinion, percent Latinos in a population is always a significant predictor of anti-immigrant attitudes, while the percent Asian American indicates more generous social welfare policies, less negative attitudes about immigrants (Abrajano and Hajnal 2015). When “sudden, destabilizing change” occurs in local demographics while immigration also becomes a high-profile national issue, attitudes become more anti-immigrant (Hopkins 2010).


Slide 3:

In the context of TX-07, immigrant experiences with society and politics is presumably at a negative-level, but with signs of optimism. Given the 30.4% Latinos, there are definitely interactions between immigrants and native-born residents, which might create some sense of white backlash, anti-immigrant views, and movement towards the Republican Party. However, the opposite took effect: TX-07 became Democratic in 2018, at the end of a 10 year increase in Latino population. I believe backlash to Trump overpowered attitudes on immigration here, which makes the conflict between the literature and the reality harder to identify. This is also why I want to explore this area in my research proposal. I don’t think immigrant receptivity will be negative because the population increase of this group has not been sudden or destabilizing, rather it’s been constant and consistent over the last 10 years. Furthermore, growing Asian populations might counteract more restrictive policymaking that Latino attitudes tend to create; support for DACA and amnesty might begin to increase as native-born population decrease. Given Houston’s proximity to the border, I suspect local news media to succumb to more sensational, frequent, and negatively-toned coverage of immigration. The media, regardless of their political leanings, will engage in agenda-setting, framing immigration as negative, and consequently priming, all while pushing group-centric ideas about Latinos.


Slide 4:

I plan to test my predictions about immigrant experiences by doing qualitative interviews. I would like to interview a leader or high-level employee of an immigrant nonprofit (possibly the Alliance), a staffer for Rep. Fletcher, an immigrant business owner, family members, or any immigrants in municipal positions, to list a few possibilities. I think it would be even more beneficial if people in these positions were also immigrants. I have worked with the non-profit the Alliance in the past and have suggested it due to my familiarity. Some key questions I would ask immigrants include: How do you feel you’ve been received in the community? How was that changed in the last 10 years or since you’ve arrived? Do you feel a part of the political process of our district? What would you like to see improved upon in the future? I plan on contacting and securing permission from interviewees through email, phone calls, and personal connections.

VA 6

This first slide provides a brief overview of Virginia’s District 6’s Republican representative Ben Cline and its demographics. As the statistic shows, provided by, the vast majority of District 6 is native born, which most likely accounts for why immigration is not listed in Representative Cline’s category of issues. There is a very small foreign born population, but of this group, about half of them are labeled ‘not a citizen’. Representative Cline is a new member of Congress, so he has not sponsored many bills, but he did sponsor H.R. 1397, which would require the national instant background check system to notify ICE of firearm denials due to illegal or unauthorized presence in the United States (


This second slide shows the election history for District 6, which is unwaveringly Republican. This data was provided by the Virginia Election Database. Robert Goodlatte, the previous representative for District 6, held his position since 1993 with little opposition. It is interesting to see in this 10 year election period how the Democratic Party was unable to select a candidate to rival Robert Goodlatte. While there is no explanation as to why the Democrats failed to select a candidate, I hypothesize that the Democrats knew they would lose seats in the midterm elections of President Obama’s presidency, so energies spent in swing districts would be more fruitful. It is clear that the incumbency advantage benefitted Representative Goodlatte well. This election history also shows that Ben Cline is a freshman representative, achieving his electoral victory after Representative Goodlatte declined to run for office in 2018.

The most significant details revolving District 6 are its strong Republican influence, its new representative, its quite homogeneous population, and size of cities in the district. Research indicates strong evidence of partisanship largely deciding a representative’s outlook on immigration (Casellas et al. 2013; Ramakrishnan & Wong 2010). In addition, medium-sized cities (Lynchburg, Roanoke, Harrisonburg) and newer House representatives are more likely to support restrictive immigration policies. However, evidence does not support that restrictionist policies are related to the Latino population size, which is 4% for District 6 (Ramakrishnan & Wong 2010).


These hypotheses result from the existing facts we have of Representative Cline. Based on the literature from the previous slides and Representative Ben Cline’s behavior since January 2019, I predict that he will favor restrictive immigration policies because he is a Republican, began his bill-sponsoring record with a restrictive immigration bill, is a freshman congressman, represents a district of medium-sized cities, mentioned “immigrant” only once in his tweet record as of March 3rd, 2019 (taken from his Twitter account: @RepBenCline).

GA-1 Buddy Carter (new, readable submission)


Slide 1: In this slide, I’ve detailed the history and electoral margins of the past 10 years of elections. Jack Kingston was a 13-term representative, winning by percentages above 60 and a few uncontested primaries. After he retired to run for Senate in 2014, Buddy Carter became his successor narrowly winning primaries in the only runoff within these 10 years.  The past two elections have had very interesting results. In 2016, Carter won the Republican primary without opposition from either side until Nathan Russo wrote-in as a candidate, garnering very little support at the voting polls. Last election, Carter won by the narrowest margin by any candidate since before Kingston’s reign as representative. This is an extremely significant and stark difference from the circumstances of the previous election.

Slide 2:The table details breakdowns of the native and foreign-born communities. This district has a very small immigrant population, but of this population, there are noteworthy statistics. Even though Hispanics constitute 5.0% of the extremely large native-born population, they make up over half of the non-citizen immigrants. Out of all the four groups, non-citizens have the highest percentage of people without a high school degree and of working individuals making the lowest income on the table. I found it particularly interesting that while almost a third of working non-citizen immigrants make low incomes, naturalized citizens have the highest percentage of people making the largest incomes, even more so than the native population. As mentioned on the title slide, GA-1 is not a very rural area and is, in fact, quite urbanized. Therefore, in this slide I’ve emphasized that there are many other sectors that more significant to the region than agriculture. Finally, another notable statistic is the large growth within the Hispanic immigrant population in 2017 compared to just one year before.

Slide 3:I’ve pulled important arguments and points from various pieces of literature that correspond with relevant facts and statistics about the district and Buddy Carter. The words colored in red are meant to emphasize when the research is identifying a factor that is positively correlated with restrictive stances and actions, while the green-colored words are meant to do the same but for factors positively correlated with permissive or less restrictive stances and actions. Based on characteristics from the slide before, I make predictions using the relevant finding. There was not much definitive research on correlations between income brackets or employment levels of immigrant groups and the policymaking of Congressmen, but there was enough research about other characteristics for me to be able to make a firm prediction.

Slide 4:The overall tone and agenda of Carter, based on the types of immigration bills he supported and content of his website and twitter, is outwardly restrictive and focused on securing the border. The language he uses on his website and during interviews illustrates a grave threat beyond the Southern border that needs to be addressed through tougher law enforcement. Immigration is not a large part of his policymaking or platform, but he still makes his position very clear and in accordance with most members of his party in this era of hyperpartisanship.

CT-4: Jim Himes (D)

Himes announced his candidacy on April 19, 2007, quickly receiving endorsements from several political action committees. His campaign was targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) as a potential flip; indeed, he beat Republican incumbent Christopher Shays by a slim margin of 4 percentage points and has held the seat since. The figure in slide 1 shows vote counts by party in every election subsequent for this seat. Two patterns emerge that are consistent with broader literature. First, turnout was higher in presidential election years. Second, as a Democrat, Himes faced tighter races in Obama’s midterm years (2010 and 2014); we see tighter spreads in those years. (The President’s party typically underperforms in midterms.)

This slide cites literature that we have reviewed in class, mostly focusing on understanding systematic relationships between district-level characteristics and representatives’ propensity to vote for restrictive or permissive immigration policies. Multivariate analyses from Tom Wong and others find consistent patterns; members’ political party can predict these outcomes better than any other variable. However, party is downstream of properties of the district, and none of these studies directly measured constituents’ opinions on immigration. We might wonder then, whether it is in fact party, or instead these unobserved upstream properties, that are truly causing more or less restrictive floor votes. For that reason, we especially care about individual cases when investigating this question. Demographic characteristics like percentage of Hispanics or percent foreign-born are found to be significant, but with very weak point estimates, in Wong’s regressions (2014). This suggests these factors might retain salience in individual cases.

CT-4’s characteristics predict Himes to be quite liberal on immigration. The district is suburban and generally well-educated. It has a higher proportion of registered Democrats and a higher median income than the national average. Himes is nonetheless relatively conservative among House Democrats. His DW-NOMINATE score is -0.241, making him more liberal than 54% of the House, and more conservative than 84% of House Democrats. (source: Voteview) The relative wealth of CT-4 is perhaps the best explainer for this score; as former chair of the New Democrat Coalition, Himes has made clear his commitment to “pro-growth” policies including lower taxes. This neoliberal outlook would presume a preference for more open immigration policies, too.



Himes is active on Twitter, but not particularly so with respect to immigration. He has mostly criticized the President’s border wall proposal, arguing that it is ineffectual. On his website, he expresses a commitment to border security, along with a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants “in order to ensure that everyone pays their full and fair share of taxes.” Himes is not a legislative leader on the issue of immigration, as you can see in the top right hand corner of slide 4; his only sponsored bill was defeated in 2010. He has only broken with House Democrats a couple times on immigration votes: once in 2012 re: skilled immigration, and once in 2018 on a symbolic resolution about the voting enfranchisement.


Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07)

Link to slides


Slide 1:

Republican Rep. John Culberson held the seat of TX-07 for 16 years, since 2000, winning by rather large margins up until 2016. In 2018, he lost his seat to the challenger from the Democratic Party, Lizzie Fletcher, by 5% or roughly 12,000 votes. Fletcher is currently serving her first-term in the 115th Congress.


Slide 2:

Wong (2017) argues that in constituencies with high foreign born populations, policymakers—both Republicans and Democrats—are less likely to support restrictive immigration policy. Casellas and Leal (2013) show that large Latino populations imply less support by policymakers for restrictive proposals, however partisanship is a more important factor in deciding whether a policymaker will vote for measures. Wong (2014) claims that as the percentage of Latinos and Asians in states increases, the probability of voting “yes” for interior enforcement decreases.


Slide 3:

This research has some direct, visible effects on the TX-07 district, however recent changes in party control of the district make some findings difficult to interpret. 28.84% of the population is foreign born in the district, 30.5% is Latino, and 10.7% is Asian, however the district still has restrictive immigration policy. Immigrant organizations have urged an increase in immigrant legal services, the use of ID cards, language access for non-English speakers, stopping 287(g), and less restrictive immigration policies in general (de Graauw, Gleeson, Bada 2019).


Slide 4:

In terms of her congressional record, Rep. Fletcher’s voted “yea” on H.J. Res. 31 which provided funding for the Department of Homeland Security and included $12.2 billion for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and $7.5 billion for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Feb. 14, 2019. She also cosponsored H. J. Res. 46 which repealed Trump’s emergency national declaration and passed on Feb. 26, 2019. She has cosponsored 3 bills and 1 (H.J. Res 46) was immigration-related; to say that 33% of bills she’s cosponsored have been immigration-related is a bit deceiving though, given the small sample size. Fletcher’s website is incredibly bare: under the category of “Other Issues” in which users would ideally be able to view her stances, for each of the nine issues, there is no information, only the message “More coming soon!” In 2019, on Twitter, Fletcher was vocal in January and February about the government shutdown and attacks with a standard, partisan tone from a Democrat. She tweeted 9 times about immigration (including one tweet of a picture of a border wall, one linking to a news article about wall funding, and one with the buzzword “borders“) out of 121 overall tweets within the January 1 to March 1 time period; 7.4% of Fletcher’s tweets were about immigration.

Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ 12)

Slide 1

Slide 1 shows how there has been a strong Democratic presence in NJ 12 for a number of years. For the history of the district, there has always been a Democratic Representative in office, starting out with Rush D. Holt Jr, serving from 2000 to 2014. He was then succeeded by the current Rep, Bonnie Watson Coleman, who has served from 2014 until now. As you can see, on the right-hand side there is data from the US Census Bureau (2010) that details population, gender, race, ethnicity, unemployment, median household income, high school graduation rate, and college graduation rate.


Slide 2

On this slide you can find existing research on what impacts immigration policy. This is used on this slide to make predictions on what the current Rep, Bonnie Watson Coleman (BWC), will decide upon, whether that be a restrictive or accepting immigration policy. According to the research and readings that were given to us in the class, the higher the population of Latinx residents, the more likely that there will be a immigrant friendly policy; however, if the Latinx population rises quickly in a short amount of time, then Republican Reps will be more likely to vote for restrictive immigration policies (Wong 2014). According to Ramakrishnan and Wong (2010), cities with protests are eight times more likely to have pro-immigrant legislation. When looking at who is likely to fund the DHS, Democratic Representatives in a polarized district likely to vote towards funding the DHS (Valenzuela 2019). It also happens to be a well-known fact that Republican Reps are more likely to vote on restrictive immigration policies, while the opposite is true for Democrats (Wong 2014, Wong 2017, Casellas and Leal 2013).

Slide 3

According to all of the research presented on the previous slide, if BWC had to choose between a restrictive or accepting immigration policy, she would probably go with an accepting policy. When looking at protests, there are many protests within cities of District 12, particularly in Trenton and Princeton, indicating that the district would have an accepting policy on immigration. Another reason to believe that BWC would be for accepting immigrant policies is the fact that BWC is not a Representative in a polarized district, in addition to this, she is also serving in a district that happens to be historically Democratic. Since BWC is serving her third term as a Representative of District 12, she would likely not be pushed towards a restrictive policy since she has no history of doing so in the past.

Slide 4

When looking at BWC’s tweets containing the keywords: “Immigration,” “Immigrant,” “Border,” “Wall,” and “Undocumented,” you find that roughly around 13% of her tweets are on immigration from January 1st, to March 1stof this year. While she does have several tweets on the topic of immigration, this doesn’t translate to her voting record. From what I found, the hasn’t ever sponsored a bill on immigration; however, this does not necessarily mean she has voted against one, it is just likely that due to NJ’s distance from the border, there has been no need to pass a bill on immigration. Aside from this, her tweets do indicate that she hastaken a public stance on being against the wall since she considers the border situation to be a humanitarian crisis, anti-trump, condemns the govt. shutdown, and is for DACA. When looking at her history of bill sponsorship, she has mostly sponsored bills revolving taxation (25%), Crime and Law Enforcement (22%), and Government Operations and Politics (19%). If one looks on her website, one can find that out of twelve issues listed, immigration is listed as the 5thissue; however, when looking at her campaign website, one wont find Immigration listed as an important issue for her. On her official website, one can find quotes from her about how she believes in how DACA or an equivalent should be made permanent, and how the proposed wall is nothing more than a symbol of hate that she is against for many reasons.


Campaign Website:

Govt. Website (BWC):

Connor McCarthy (IA-4)

Slide 1)

The 4th district of Iowa was remapped in 2003 and consisted of the central north portion of the state.  In 2013, it was yet again redistricted and the incumbent Tom Latham opted to move to the 3rd district leaving Steve King (the 5th district incumbent) to govern the 4th district which he has continued to do for six years.  Over the course of the last few elections, King has won relatively comfortably with the closest race coming in 2012 where he won 53% of the votes. These counties include an overwhelming Republican contingency which is reflected in their annual appointment of a Republican senator dating back to 1994.  Furthermore, there is a polarizing ethnic makeup, with nearly 96% of the population as white. Lastly, the median is around $55,000 which is slightly below the state average.

Slide 2)

There are a few theories of existing literature which can help us better understand policy making with regards to immigration and are pertinent to Iowa’s 4th district.  In Wong’s piece, she points out how pro-restriction and pro-immigrant groups are overwhelmingly influenced by party composition. Republicans tend to support stricter borders, while Democrats argue that a more liberal approach is beneficial for our country.  As a result, Republican counties are more likely to not only support anti-immigration sentiment, but also cooperate with federal law enforcement to combat the problem of illegal aliens. In Casellas’ article he discusses the economic tension which can arise with migrant workers seeking low skilled jobs.  He proposes that counties with lower income individuals would support strict immigration laws in order to ensure their job security. Wong also comments on the phenomenon that when there are rapid changes in racial or ethnic makeups, this can be accompanied by negative opinions towards migrants. Though there are economic and demographic factors which are import to acknowledge, the most important variable, which is echoed throughout the existing literature, is that policy making is most notably affected by political factors as legislators consistently act along party lines when discussing immigration.

Slide 3)

Given these trends from the previous slide, we can now predict immigration policy in Iowa’s 4th district.  Every county within the 4th district is Republican. With this rampant conservative partisanship throughout King’s region it would be safe to say they would support anti-immigration policy.  Not only are Republicans more likely to support regulatory bills, they are twice as likely to offer restrictionist amendments. As previously discussed, the evidence across multiple studies shows that partisanship has the largest effect on immigration legislation, and Republicans overwhelmingly vote against immigration.  Additionally, Wong mentions the theory of identity politics, that immigration policies are shaped by societal definitions of citizenship. She continues to say that areas with large and rapid changes in ethnic makeup, like the 130% increase in Latinos since 2000, would likely be accompanied by increased cooperation with federal law enforcement, and removal of any illegal immigrants.  This seemingly homogenous distribution of white, lower class, republican members of the 4th district would provoke incredibly anti-immigrant policy making.

Slide 4)

Steve King’s website clearly conveys his message on immigration.  He believes that as a country we must secure our borders in order to keep the illegal aliens out.  King has even proposed a wall, similar to Trump’s design, but incorporated a layer of barbed wire at the top.  He adamantly opposes amnesty and has compared the separation of families at the border to abortion seperating a baby from his/her mother.  All five paragraphs on his website exhibit intense rhetoric demonizing illegal immigrants and condemning their presence in America. In addition to the wall, he has filed the Illegal Deduction Elimination Act which would make wages paid to illegal immigrants non-deductible for businesses.  He also reintroduced for the fifth time the Birthright Citizens Act which would restrict the automatic citizenship to any child born to illegal-alien parents in the United States, which received twenty cosponsors. Immigration appears to be of the utmost importance to King as nearly ⅓ of his voting history resides within immigration matters.

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