Category: In the News, P05 (10a Kpo)

The Power Of The Latino Vote

  1. 1A Across America: The Power Of The Latino Vote
  2. Key takeaways about Latino voters in the 2018 midterm elections

For this post I decided to pick two articles. The second article focuses more on the statistics revolving Latino voter turn out for the 2018 elections, whereas the first article looks more at how immigration being at the forefront of many politicians rhetoric has impacted the Latino vote. Since this week’s readings/content was focused on Latino backlash, I thought that since the first article didn’t have much on stats surrounding this, I supplemented it with the second article. When referring to “latino backlash,” this weeks readings/content talk about this in terms of  the long-term effects of having immigration at the forefront of political rhetoric and how that affects Latino political involvement.

In the first article, 1A Across America: The Power of The Latino Vote, the author talks about the turnout of latino voters to the polls, especially considering that in 2020, Latinos are predicted to make up the largest non-white voting population in the US. However, Latino voter turn-out has historically wavered, due to various reasons, which is another aspect which the article touches upon. In the piece we hear from various political figures and their opinions on why Latino voter turn out will keep increasing, as well as what it will/has meant for the US.

The second article, Key takeaways about Latino voters in the 2018 midterm elections, from the Pew Research Center, breaks down trends seen within the Latino voter-turn out. More specifically the article looks at: first-time voters, party affiliation, gender gap, increasing eligible & registered voters, and the flipping of seats as a result of the percentage of Latino voters.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What influences, aside from the increase in xenophobic rhetoric, could have caused more Latinos to participate in the 2018 midterm elections? Do you foresee this as a trend that will continue as a result?
  2. What if this xenophobic rhetoric decreases? Will the Latino vote still keep increasing or will it plateau?
  3. While the increase in xenophobic rhetoric surrounding immigration has increased in the US, to what extent do you believe this has actually increased Latino voter turn out?

Tom Brokaw apologizes after saying ‘Hispanics should work harder at assimilation’

Link to article:

This week’s readings explore the patterns of assimilation displayed by Hispanic immigrants. In his controversial piece “The Hispanic Challenge,” Samuel Huntington contends that the entrance of Hispanics into the United States compromises the dominance of the English language and threatens our foundational Anglo-Protestant values (rule of law, work ethic, individualism, etc.). This stance does not go unchallenged, however. Citrin et. al test whether Hispanics are truly as unwilling to assimilate as Huntington suggests. Supported by data from national surveys, the researchers report typical rates of acculturation in Hispanic migrant populations.

The article from The Washington Post discusses the claim that immigrants should adopt American culture more readily (Tom Brokaw). His tirade includes expressions of fear towards “racial mixing and a majority-minority nation.”Although Brokaw issued an apology, the comment nevertheless reflects racist and xenophobic sentiments held by a sizable portion of American citizens. This is deeply troubling because studies are consistently demonstrating Hispanic immigrants’ normal acculturation. Furthermore, the article provides anecdotal cases of immigrants’ willingness to adapt. Barbara Rodriguez and Carolina Moreno (political reporters), for instance, tweeted that their mothers fiercely advocated for mastery of English as a means of social assimilation.

Discussion questions:
Can empirical/anecdotal evidence dispel persistent narratives about Hispanic assimilation? Is the eradication of such narratives a fair way to assess whether related studies are worthwhile?

Trump Put Immigration Back In The Headlines. Will It Boost GOP Turnout?

FiveThirtyEight article

This week’s course content centered around the role of the media in shaping immigration attitudes. The material was especially focused on three concepts: agenda setting, priming, and framing, The readings, especially Adida, Dionne and Platas; Utych; Marshall and Shapiro; and Branton focus on the role of elite rhetoric in agenda setting, priming and framing. The readings show that elites can communicate through the media to directly affect attitudes on immigration. Work such as Jones and Martin shows that when elites cue the public that immigration is a priority, individual voters also vote with immigration in mind. Johanna, Brandon, and Abrajano show that the increase in framing immigration as a Latino issue leads to an increase in GOP partisanship among whites, while Valentino, Brader, and Jardina show that this framing has led whites to view “immigrant” as synonymous with “Latino”. 

This article from FiveThirtyEight, “Trump Put Immigration Back in the Headlines. Will it Boost GOP Turnout?”, cuts right to the heart of the issues we have been covering this week. It discusses how Trump uses elite cues to frame immigrants as Latinos, criminals and terrorists in order to prime this issue as significant for elections. He is hoping to prime GOP voters in swing states with recent influxes of Latino immigration such as Arizona and Florida (in which Jones and Martin demonstrated immigration has greater salience) to vote in the midterms.

Trump mentions that “Middle Eastern terrorists” are in the caravan. Given that he uses this framing to create a negative view of immigrants in the caravan, do you think Valentino, Brader, and Jardina should have included “Middle Eastern” as a possible class of immigrants in their analysis?


The dangerous game Donald Trump is playing with MS-13

Link to Washington Post Article:

Throughout much of the existing literature on how the media portrays immigration, a consistent theme of the “Latino Threat” emerges.  This is when newspapers and media groups choose to focus on the negatives of immigration often citing criminal activity or the strain foreign born residents have on America’s health care.  Marisa Abrajano outlines in her book White Backlash how a disproportionate amount of stories reference and depict teenage Latino boys in American detention centers or images of them at the border.  Although there is some truth to this claim, this negative rhetoric fosters fear in residents and refuses to acknowledge the reality of the situation and confirms false stereotypes about Mexican immigrants.

In the piece from the Washington Post, this political tactic is utilized by President Trump as he overwhelmingly warns citizens about the threat of the MS-13 gang.  Franco likened Trump’s claims about this gang to public opinion about the Pachucos in the 1940s.  He contends that the political propaganda at this time turned into public hysteria regarding the group and resulted in unjust arrests and riots.  He implies that it is the news outlets prerogative to provide facts about current events and not influence polarization about heated topics among their readers.

Do you see similar trends in today’s media pushing the narrative of outsiders unwilling to assimilate, and labeling these aliens as criminals and threats to American society?  Is the threat of the MS-13 gang proportional to the amount of national attention Trump gives them? If so, how prevalent is this issue and what can be done to halt this destructive movement?  How does false and degrading rhetoric pigeon hole the Latino community and lead to violence/discrimination?   What do you make of the new wave of sympathetic news depicting children being taken away from their families, and unregulated violence towards this community?

“Trump Crackdown Unnerves Immigrants, and the Farmers Who Rely on Them”

Link to New York Times article:


In Chapter Four of White Backlash: Immigration, Race, and American Politics, Abrajano and Hajnal explore what is causing the response of white America to immigrants. They argue that a racial threat narrative has emerged in areas with larger Latino populations, and this higher Latino population in the area makes white Americans feel a “potential threat to white power and resources” (p.153). Abrajano and Hajnal also explore how feelings about immigration have a partisan context and can uniquely spill over to affecting views on other political issues, such as crime, healthcare, and welfare.

A recent New York Times article offers a different perspective of how white Americans respond to local immigrant communities. Specifically, the article focuses on the reaction of white Americans who depend on undocumented workers for their low-cost farm labor. Many of these white farmers are distancing themselves from President Trump’s anti-immigrant calls because without the labor of undocumented immigrants, there may not find a replacement. Interestingly, farmers who once supported Trump are now seeing the economic effects of anti-immigration policies and changing their position, stating:

“I still agree with Trump in a lot of ways, but I’m more on the fence about him now,” Ms. Raby said. “I don’t want to lose the immigrants who are working here and growing our food.”

White Americans seem to be realizing that they have become economically dependent on immigrant labor, and this could predict a future change of political opinions to a less exclusionary immigration position going forward.

Discussion question: As mentioned above, Abrajano and Hajnal argue that opinions on immigration affect other political issues. Do you predict that the changing opinions on immigration that the article discusses will lead to a broader shift in political attitudes in the reverse direction?

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?


Interest Groups and Nonprofits: Who is left to institute immigrants into political society?

As discussed in this weeks readings, interest groups and non profit 501c3’s stand as one of the most prominent sources of socioeconomic and political advocacy for immigrant groups (Andersen 2008, De Graauw 2008, McDermott 2013).  They are able to work towards the political education and inclusion of immigrants into local politics, giving them support without singling them out.  However, as we read, their capabilities of providing actual rights into participation of politics are limited to more local matters.  The town/city in which immigrants are located in also plays a huge role in the availability and/or presence of any immigrant nonprofits or interests in the area, and consequently the political inclusion of immigrant groups in said area.  For example, immigrant nonprofits and interest groups in San Francisco (De Graauw 2008) are much more prominent than in Greenville South Carolina (McDermott 2013), and thus immigrants in San Fransisco find themselves in a position of much greater political inclusion and advocacy.

While immigrants in some areas such as San Francisco might find themselves in a better position of political advocacy and socioeconomic support, others might find themselves quite stretched, if they have any immigrant non-profits at all.  This article here talks about how an influx in families crossing the border has stretched both the time and resources of the Border Patrol and an El Paso non-profit called the Annunciation House.  These organizations are in place to promote the interests of immigrants, sometimes socioeconomically and others of course politically as the readings highlight, but how must they handle a situation like this when the demand for their services increases past their capacity?  Are organizations like this obligated to form in areas such as Greenville with little desire for immigrant integration?  These organizations are already acting in a humanitarian fashion to help immigrants, but how should they decide between prioritizing political advocacy versus the basic needs of immigrants if they are stretched financially?

Interpreting data with caution: don’t do a Sessions!

One of the extra readings for this week by Gonzalez O’Brien et al. show that crime rates are no different in sanctuary cities compared to non-sanctuary cities, or before and after a city becomes a sanctuary. Jeff Sessions, the former Attorney General of the United States, referenced this very article to erroneously argue that sanctuary cities have more crime than non-sanctuary cities. He should have taken a basic statistics class!

Democrats Used To Talk About ‘Criminal Immigrants,’ So What Changed The Party?

Read the article here.


The readings this week discussed the polarization of immigration politics and how this interacts with local policy making.  Previous scholars argue the relevance of variables such as wage competition between blacks and whites, overcrowded housing, and high proportions of linguistically isolated households (Ramakrishnan and Wong, 2010).  However, Ramakrishnan and Wong 2010, and Wong 2012 found that the most salient variable in explaining increased restrictionist policies was the share of Republicans in each locality.  That said, while much of the focus of partisan immigration politics has been on the “radicalization” of the right, this article instead discusses the changes in the Democratic party that have exacerbated party polarization.

The article presents the following theories for the rapid change of opinion within the Democratic party:

1) Shifted focus to Civil Rights

In the early 2000s, the NAACP began to relate the immigration issue to Civil Rights rather than as a threat to black workers.  Concurrently, the AFL-CIO membership became increasingly diverse, and they reversed their position on immigration, mirroring the rhetoric presented in Pew’s study.

2) Increased familiarity

The Democratic party itself has diversified, with non-white membership increasing eighteen percentage points since 1995.  One pundit explained, “Americans over the last decade have become more profoundly and deeply pro-immigrant because they know immigrants.”



Given that the divergence of opinions occurred around 2006, what are some other potential variables that may have led to the Democratic party altering its viewpoint? How does local politics interact with the increased familiarity aspect, as we read for this week?

Livingston County Town Seeks Economic Boon From Immigration Detention Center

This week, we discussed the partisan divide and the likelihood of representatives supporting the tightening of interior immigration based on the size of the Hispanic/Latino population in their districts.

The article that I selected focuses on how tightening interior immigration can affect certain communities in the United States.

In 2013, Livingston County, located in Chicago, lost a major employer. In result, Dwight, a small town of 4,200 residents, was severely impacted, with 450 people losing their jobs. Some businesses closed, house prices went down, and the town lost about $50 million in annual economic impact. Jared Anderson, who serves as the current “Village” president, was met with an offer that would seemingly benefit his community. A private company called “Immigration Centers for America” proposed that they build a detention center in Dwight, which would ultimately create 280 job opportunities (averaging at $60,000 each) for the residents of the town. The people of Livingston County are currently facing ethical dilemmas over the creation of an immigration detention center. On the one hand, Anderson argues that a detention center would have a substantial economic impact on the county as The Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs’ project construction would economically impact Livingston by $255 million. Moreover, the town of Dwight would be paid for each detainee in the facility. Hannah Van Der Karr, a resident of Dwight, views the possible development as a moral injustice and worries that the company only cares about imprisoning people for profit.

After reading this article and this weeks’ texts, I ask the following questions:

Do you believe that a tighter immigration policy would yield to an economic advantage or disadvantage? Who are the “winners” in Trump’s America? Moreover, Dwight, Chicago is currently estimated to have a small Hispanic population (2.8%). Based on Wong’s findings, do you think that Jared Anderson would firmly support the development of an immigration detention center?

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