This NYTimes article, written on February 14th, 2019, reminded me of the lecture from Monday, where Professor Jones presented compelling research on status misattribution and immigrant innumeracy. He and his colleague found through a panel data survey that American whites significantly overstate the size of the unauthorized Latino population, and in turn, Latinos pick up the signal about status innumeracy and believe white judgment is even worse than it actually is. In this news article, two women are detained by a border patrol agent in Montana for speaking Spanish, even though they were both born in the States. The ACLU has brought their case before the court, and accused the border agent who claimed that the women’s accents were “very strong” and he stopped them, not because they were Latina, but because they were “speaking Spanish in the store in a state where it is predominantly English speaking.” The women’s citizenship statuses were brought into question purely due to their language and the border agent’s white perception.
Discussion Question: How might white and Latino experiences of status misattribution affect their perceptions of legitimacy and citizenship, particularly in their voting behavior?
In a Washington Post article called “How Dangerous Is It when Trump Calls Some Immigrants ‘Animals’?” from May 2018, the connection between dehumanizing propaganda and participation in violence is analyzed, showing that while dehumanizing discourse does not directly cause violence, it prepares the way for the violent actions against immigrants. While President Trump’s descriptions of undocumented immigrants as “animals” or “rapists and criminals” alone do not motivate people to participate in violent actions against immigrants and only has a momentary impact on public opinion, repeated use of such language dangerously normalizes extreme perspectives by making the immigrant threat seem real, creating a path that makes violence a more acceptable behavior. News media coverage of Trump’s repeated use of such descriptions of immigrants means Trump’s language choices significantly influence American views towards immigrants and can promote negative perceptions and even violent actions against them.
Discussion question: Because Americans tend to have very strong and polarized opinions about President Trump, is repeated usage of dehumanizing language by Trump more or less dangerous than similar language usage by news media coverage of immigration that’s not directly related to Trump?
A Love Story at the Border
The Children of the Caravan
In this week’s discussion with Jorge Ramos, he said that he believes the only way to combat anti-immigrant sentiments is to humanize them by telling their stories. It is clear from a look on his news website that he certainly tries to do this. For precept this week, I chose two articles that Ramos has reported on: “A Love Story at the Border” and “The Children of the Caravan”.
The first article reports on a father migrating to the United States from Honduras to get his daughter with epilepsy and learning difficulties proper care. The pair joined a caravan of migrants traveling from Hondorus because they could not pay the price a smuggler would request. Fortunately, activists and lawyers persuaded American immigration agents to expedite their case and allowed them to cross the border upon arrival. The second article reports on the children of the caravan. He starts, “I’ve seen the ignorant, xenophobic rants on social media about the caravan. They’re terrorists in disguise. They’re Criminals. They’re invaders. They’ve been sent to invade and destabilize the United States. But in the main square of this small town in southern Mexico recently, all I could hear of the caravan were the children’s cries and their laughter.” He shares pictures and videos of the children to dispel the idea that the caravan is a threat.
Media coverage on Latino immigration has roughly paralleled actual rates of immigration from Latin America (Valentino et. al 2012). The reading by Utych this week suggests that dehumanization in media increases anger and disgust toward immigrants, which causes anti-immigrant sentiments. These articles are trying to counteract that narrative.
- To what extent can articles like these counter-act the effects of other media attention on immigration sentiment?
- Do you think individuals with anti-immigrant statements will see these articles and if so how would they respond to them?
This week we discussed how the media’s coverage of immigration could affect the consumer’s attitudes about immigration. The article I choose highlights the difference in coverage of the migrant caravan by MSNBC and Fox News, which are both very loud mainstream media partisan voices on the left and right of the political spectrum. Therefore, I don’t think it’s necessarily shocking the way each framed the caravan and the tone of their coverage—MSNBC utilized words like asylum and emphasized the women and children in the caravan while FoxNews labeled it as an invasion that’s going to bring in criminal activity. One thing I found interesting was the frequency of the reporting on the caravan, particularly by FoxNews before the midterm elections. MSNBC coverage wasn’t so focused in on the caravan as it was on how Republicans were benefiting from it until the tear-gas incident at the border. I think the human-interest aspect of the caravan and timing of it drove media coverage, what other factors do you think could have been driving media coverage of the caravan, and more broadly, what factors do you think drive media coverage of immigration?
I also added a FoxNews video that I came across because as expected it promotes this narrative that the caravan is full of mob members that are trying to invade the country. Interesting enough they attempt to show the other face of immigration by interviewing a legal immigrant from Hungary and then, highlighting that an illegal immigrant murdered her son. In the video, they don’t mention where the illegal immigrant was from, but they casually say that he was a gang member and fled to Mexico. I think this is an example of group association, as they’re trying to categorize illegal immigrants as Latinos, more specifically as Mexicans that are coming here to commit crimes and without a legitimate reason to seek asylum.
- Do you think that the pre-existing views of FoxNews and MSNBC audiences drive their coverage of immigration-related events or does their media coverage influence the views of their audience?
- In Abrajano et. al, they discuss how generational status influences Latinos’ immigration attitude, do you think that immigrating legally or illegally affects views on immigration as well?
The Making of an Online Moral Crisis
As we read this week, the media tends to portray immigrants in a negative light, which increases hostility towards immigration (Farris and Mohammed 2018). However, around the media’s coverage of family separation was less about the immigrants’ undocumented entry and more about the shock of the government trying to hide the situation. This Atlantic article is about how the information spread when it was finally exposed, creating national concern over how the U.S. government was treating immigrants. While the focus was naturally on immigrants’ documentation status as these individuals crossed the border illegally, the real emphasis was on the humanitarian crisis at the border under Trump’s family separation policy. Unsurprisingly, some Americans were still hostile towards these undocumented immigrants as the literature suggests, but in the case of family separation, the government was portrayed negatively rather than the immigrants. In turn, immigrants gained sympathy they often lack among the American public.
In precept this week, I think it would be interesting to discuss how exposing the government’s moral downfalls may result in more positive immigration sentiment among the American public. In addition, does implicitly signaling immigrants’ documentation status rather than making it the forefront of an article make attitudes toward immigration more positive than negative?
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?
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:
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?
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, www.redpepper.org.uk/anti-migrant-politics-weakens-the-workers-movement/
This week we learned about the activism and contributions of DACA and undocumented immigrants within the United States and their statuses. Within the article “Becoming DACAmented: Assessing the Short-Term Benefits of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)” we learned from their study the social political affects of DACA on DACA recipients based off their exposure to “resources” that therefore seems to be able to determine the extent to which DACA recipients are able to take advantage of their status. In addition to this we also read the article about how “Dreamers” such as “Gabriela Cruz” have been able to make their mark on the current political stage and how they are currently affecting elections without necessary being part of the electorate. Articles such as these has in contemporary times lead to the “hyper visibility” of immigrants within the US. However, even with this hyper visibility there seems to be a racialization of immigration issues where within the discussions of general immigration issues (even within the context of this class and its syllabus) where immigrants with immigration issues seems to equate Hispanic or Latino.
This article by Jamila Osman a Somalian Writer, educator, and community organizer, attempts to “expand” current discussion on immigration and immigrant statuses and rights to include those who although although face immigrant issues, do not receive significant support from the immigrant community. Osman talks about the fact that although approx. 66,000 Haitian immigrants are up for deportation because of the potential end of TPS their issues/stories are often kept from the general population despite the fact that the Trumps administration is also trying to end TPS as a whole. Therefore, to build on Osman’s argument not only would this affect a significant portion of the current Haitian population but it would also affect a significant portion of the South Sudanese population, the El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen US Population. However, these populations have been largely ignored because the immigration discussions has been not simply been centered but also encompassed by DACA, and the immigrants addressed within this conversations has simply been reduced to being Hispanic and Latino immigrants. Therefore, this article attempts to expand the view for us to see all immigrants and all of their issues which had been rendered invisible because their identities falls at the ” intersection of xenophobia and anti-black racism” and have therefore been failed by the “The immigrant rights movement ” despite the best efforts of activists within those communities.
Therefore my questions are:
1. How does the invisibility of black, TPS, and Afro Latinos from the contemporary discussions of immigration have provided them with both obstacles but also advantages?
2. How do we start including all immigrants within the discussion of immigration when historically a portion of the immigrant population have had their rights and even their issues largely ignored from the broader discussion?
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.