Category: In the News (all) (page 1 of 3)

Latino Backlash

Protests Across US Call for End to Migrant Family Separations,” Contextualized By Pew Research Data

The article below describes the massive nation-wide protests in June of 2019 in response to the exposure of Trump’s increased family separation policy, when journalists revealed that thousands of children were not only incarcerated, subject to violence and sexual abuse, and taken away from their immigrant parents (often asking for asylum), but due to an indifferent and disorganized bureaucratic process “lost” to their true parents through the records. The famous videos about the separation policy sparked protests often organized by Latino community members. These protests, and the data from Pew, reinforce the research we’ve read in class that posits restrictive immigration policies stoke fear and/or anger in the Latino community, generating a backlash–where Latinos are more likely to vote Democrat and more likely to turn out to vote after such policies are enacted and become salient (Pantoja, Ramirez, and Seguar 2001, Bower, Nicholson and Segura 2006, Zepeda-Millan and Wallace 2014, Stokes-Brown 2006, Branton, Martinez-Ebers, Carey Jr and Matsubayashi 2010, White 2016, working research by Valenzuela 2019). As this research on past restrictive policies and elections predicts, 27% of Latinos voting in the 2018 midterms were voting for the first time, and the majority voted for Democratic candidates. The research by Pew also provides potential causal mechanisms by which these academic projects hold true–for example, why, as White shows, does the backlash occur among Latinos who are citizens and not in danger of being victim to the policy? 55% of the Latino community worries that someone they know could be deported.

This research and the articles on protest raise several important questions for this weeks’ reading:

  1. the PEW statistics demonstrate a significant gender gap in Latino voting, with a greater percentage of Latino women voting Democrat than Latino men.  And despite the problems with exit-poll statistics, there is a percentage of Latinos still voting for Republicans–less than 29%, perhaps, as discussed in lecture, but certainly over 0%.  What might account for the sections of the Latino community who do not “backlash” and divisions within the community, such as gender?
  2. Valenzuela’s working research assumes that white rage over restrictive policies won’t lead to increased mobilization. To what extent is this assumption true? How can we test it? And how do we understand non-Latino (including non-white) responses to restrictive policies, such as their participation in mass mobilization like the protests around family separation?  How sustained was this engagement when the media stopped reporting on the issue?


More Latinos Have Serious Concerns About Their Place in America Under Trump


Key takeaways about Latino voters in the 2018 midterm elections

4. Views of immigration policy


Dramatizing the Truth for the Sake of the Cause

The article “She Became a Face of Family Separation at the Border. But She’s Still With Her Mother” references the well-known photo of the Honduran toddler crying at the border as her mother was being patted down. The article explains that the child was not actually separated from her mother, and that the two were taken away by border security together. Several sources, however, said that the girl was carried away screaming. This article is a good representation of how the media can have an influence over the perception of immigration. The TIME’s story was not accurate, but it had an impact. People are not used to seeing immigrants represented in this type of way, especially not as crying children at the border. The article says that this photo caused a surge in donations towards immigrants at the border and mobilization against family separation, specifically because this photo was spread so quickly through social media.

Discussion Question: Even though photos like this have a more positive impact on immigration rights/immigration views, do news sources still have a responsibility to not dramatize the truth for the sake of the cause?

Politicized places

[Watch clip]

This video shows a Fox news reporter interviewing people in a cafe in Missouri about the immigration problem in the U.S. and other issues salient to them. One of the men speak about how the immigration problem at the border is clear to him and those living there because they see it all the time whereas at a national level people think it is more abstract / not as real. This seems to connect to Hopkins’ concept of politicized places as the national discussion of immigration as an issue has connected to this man’s experience and made it more salient. You can see below the chevron of the newscast that this is part of Fox’s discussion of the 2020 election and ‘the issues’ that matter in relation to it.

Discussion questions:

  • Using the language of agenda-setting, framing, and priming, how does the media impact the political decision-making of U.S. voters? You can use this clip as an example to apply the framework to.

The Permeance of Political Messaging in Local Communities

How Trump-Fed Conspiracy Theories About Migrant Caravan Interest With Deadly Hatred

This week’s readings have been centered around changing attitudes towards immigrants in different geographical and demographical contexts. Abrajano and Hajnal (2015) and Hopkins (2010) discuss hypotheses of white and native views about immigration. Both seem to agree that the racial threat hypothesis does not fully characterize trends across the nation in different localities and demographic changes. Abrajano and Hajnal observed that states with larger Latino populations were more concerned about immigration while large Asian populations did not illicit the same effect. Hopkins concluded that negative attitudes resulted from politicized national rhetoric surrounding changes in demographics more so than from interactions with immigrants, while, similarly, Adida (2018) suggested that perspective-taking messaging caused positive views more definitively than proximity with an outgroup. These readings seemed to suggest that one of the most consistent factors impacting outlooks on immigration is politicized messaging. The article linked above provides an example of how specific political messaging about changing demographics permeated local communities and impacted attitudes towards immigration. Peters’ article explains how Trump and his administration’s rhetoric about a caravan of dangerous, malevolent migrants approaching the Southern border has influenced ideologies of local Americans and even inspired acts of hatred in communities like Squirrel Hill. Trump vocalizes and amplifies the ideas of more radical groups, allowing them to be spread nationally and received locally through news organization and his personal Twitter account. The power from this impact can be seen through not just through increasingly negative attitudes evidenced by polling results, but through tangible violence.

Why have these responses to political messaging about immigration so extreme and do you think that if Trump began tweeting perspective-taking messages that local communities would be affected to the same degree?

Majority-minority Demographic Forecast Fuels Anxiety

The news media often discusses the impending arrival of a majority-minority United States. The Census Bureau predicts that non-Hispanic whites will make up less than 50% of the United States population by 2044. Yet these organizations and news outlets define “whiteness” in a very narrow context, which can fuel the threat narrative and, in turn, white backlash. A study by Dowell Myers and Morris Levy, researchers at USC, explores the partisan perceptions of this media coverage. Their research directly relates to the Abrajano and Hajnal reading we have been discussing in lecture the last two weeks. They argue the most publicized versions of demographic data exclude large numbers of people that may identify as white. In fact, the same data that projected a majority-minority U.S. also reports that in 2060, the country will still be greater than 68% white. But a larger portion of these people will be of mixed race or hispanic descent. Myers and Levy presented exclusive and inclusive demographic forecasts to different groups of white people. They found higher levels of “anxiety or anger” in whites who had read the exclusive report– which discussed declining white population dominance– than in the more inclusive data analysis. These results were especially strong among Republicans, again reinforcing the importance of partisanship when discussing immigration and race.  While this study does not explain fully the origins of the threat narrative, it successfully argues media coverage can have a statistically significant impact on white perceptions of immigrants.


Vox summary and analysis:

Discussion Questions:

Why would media usually report the most exclusive demographic numbers, thereby fueling a threat narrative?

How large of a role would this fear actually have in determining attitudes towards immigrants?

Is the partisan divide in Myer’s and Levy’s find consistent with our other readings this semester?


Anti-migrant politics weakens the workers’ movement

Summary: This week we looked into the effects of sudden change in terms of racial demographics. Enos’ experiment in 2014 is a very interesting experiment in which he looks into intergroup contact and exclusionary attitudes. Basically, he finds that when a group is exposed to people in the “outgroup” they are more likely to have exclusionary feelings towards that group. However, as time goes on and this “outgroup” is assimilated in their lifestyle, their exclusionary attitudes become less extreme. This article is about the “ingroup” (White workers in the UK) fighting against the rise of the outgroup. Groups seem to blame other racial groups for their races struggles especially economically speaking. Although this article is about the UK and not the US, it still has the same principles that we see in the United States with hispanic immigrants.

Discussion Question: How do politicians get away with targeting a racial group as the source of a nation’s problems, and why are people able to back these politicians without a moral dilemma?

Article Citation: Dhillon., Amardeep. “Anti-Migrant Politics Weakens the Workers’ Movement.” Red Pepper, 3 Apr. 2019,

Americans Face The Deportation Of Their Undocumented Spouses



This article discusses the issues faced by couples where one is a US citizen and the other is an undocumented immigrant.

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act introduced in 1996 means that undocumented immigrants may be faced with a number of years in exile from the US before they can return and try to legalize, even if their spouses and children live in the US legally.

Due to this Act, undocumented immigrants are much less likely to apply for green cards. Trump’s administration has toughened law enforcement on this situation and as a result there has been an increase in fear and anxiety from these families that ICE could detain the undocumented immigrant at any moment.

The American Families United Act, consisting of individuals whose spouses are undocumented immigrants, are campaigning for congress to change the 1996 legislation. Before the legislation was introduced, judicial discretion was allowed when deciding whether or not an undocumented immigrant could be granted legal permanent residency in the US.

The article also briefly highlights the ignorance of Americans on this issue; many are unaware of the 1996 Act and its effects.


  • If the legislation is changed and discretion is re-introduced, should this discretion be presidential or judicial? Who should be in charge of these decisions – the city? The state?


  • What consequences would there be if the 1996 Act was abolished? Would it actually improve the situations these families are struggling with?


  • Will campaigns such as the American Families United Act truly help this cause by drawing more attention to it?


White House: DACA benefits ‘illegal immigrants en masse’

This week’s readings discuss the issues surrounding immigrant illegality status and the effects of political discretion on the immigration option of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Gonzales (2018) studies the experiences of DACA beneficiaries while transitioning from being undocumented to gaining DACA. When examining the trajectories of DACA beneficiaries, Gonzales found differences in the experiences of those who received DACA at different stages in the transition to adulthood. While young undocumented immigrants who obtained DACA status experienced an “immediate and positive” effect and followed an educational trajectory, older undocumented people also experienced a positive trajectory in “reviving abandoned aims” from blocked transitions before DACA was in place (Gonzales, 2018).

In an article from 2018, the White House criticized DACA for “benefitting illegal immigrants en masse” following an earlier decision from the Supreme Court to dismiss the Trump administration’s effort to scale back on DACA. White House press secretary Raj Shah called the program “unlawful” and argued for the case to be heard by the judicial body. With DACA being heavily debated in Congress, this sparks questions regarding the underlying motives of those arguing against DACA. Is the argument against DACA focused on the constitutionality of the program itself, or opposition towards the benefits that it’s helping illegal immigrants to receive? In addition, how can DACA beneficiaries gain a better understanding of the timeline/possibility of DACA’s termination given Trump’s efforts to strike it down?


Immigration Advocates Urge D.C. Government To Increase Legal Funding


Local immigrant advocacy groups are often some of the most important bridges immigrants have with integrating into local US society. As the article shows, these groups are often underfunded and thus limited in their powers. Advocacy groups are asking to increase the Immigrant Justice Legal Services (IJLS) grant in Washington DC, which would result in legal groups being able to respond to a much larger number of requests.

Discussion Questions:


  • Is it the government’s responsibility to partially fund non-profit organizations which could help effectively integrate new immigrant populations? If the government should support these non-profits, is the onus on local, state, or federal governments?
  • To follow up that question, should organizations focused only on defending immigrants in court be funded? Ought there be a difference in funding between these types of organizations, and ones not focused on legal defense since they both result in increased comfort and a feeling of acceptance for immigrants within the community?
  • How can non-political organizations (Such as the Calvary Baptist Church mentioned in the article) become more widely known so immigrants can find places to gather without needing to be focused on a political topic?

Princeton University Challenges Trump Administration Regulations

This week, we heard Professor Fernandez-Kelly and read her article “The Integration Paradox: Coping Strategies among Immigrant Children in the Age of Mass Deportations” (2019), leading us to focus on the ways in which immigrant children/students are able to exhibit positive behaviors despite discriminatory national immigration policy. In addition, Aptekar (2008) speaks to how immigrant groups like Asian Indians and Chinese possess educational and material prosperity, yet have difficulty integrating into the political landscape of their local communities. This article from Princeton University posted in 2018 speaks to these concepts as we try to observe local disagreement with national immigration policy and the effects it has on immigrant communities and their integration into local politics.

Princeton University’s  involvement in the Supreme Court case against President Trump’s proclamation limiting migrants from Muslim-majority countries sparks questions about how Muslim immigrant students will integrate into the University. While Fernandez-Kelly found that immigrant students exhibit more positive behaviors in Trenton over Princeton, religion is now an element of this Supreme Court case. Fernandez-Kelly claims that a factor of Trenton immigrant children’s positive outlook is because of religious narratives crafted to explain overcoming struggles and circumstance. With the Trump administration proclamation isolating immigrants from Muslim-dominated countries, it would be interesting to discuss if/how Princeton’s support of Muslim immigrant students could foster cohesion among these immigrants, which could allow them to use their religious faith for a positive outlook. As the national government isolates groups and thereafter receives opposition from universities, it would be interesting to see how localities around the Universities that are not predominantly African American or Latino can still foster immigrant integration and political involvement using religious tolerance and acceptance.

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