Category: MCs and their records (page 1 of 4)

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.

Arizona-4: Assignment 1

Link to Slides

Slide 1:

This slide shows the shift in the district. Republican Paul Gosar has been the representative for this district since 2013. Prior to that, he served as the representative for Arizona District 1, where he ran as a tea party candidate. Prior to Gosar the district was served by Ed Pastor, the first Mexican American to represent Arizona. Pastor was a strong democrat who served the district from 2003-2013, winning with over 60% of the vote in each election. However, after the 2010 census, there was significant redistricting. The old district 4 essentially became district 7, and the new district 4 encompassed mostly Western Arizona. This district is now the most rural and the most republican district in Arizona. This district is also 19% Hispanic and 8% foreign born with a lower income than the national average.


Slide 2:
This slide summarizes the relevant literature of how local electorate context and the characteristics of a congressional member affects the support of a district’s representative for restrictive immigration policies. Two key factors: partisanship and demographics emerge as elements in the type of legislation that the representative ultimately supports. Republican representatives are more likely to support restrictive legislation than democrats, and those representing more Republican districts are also more likely to support restrictive legislation (Wong 2014; Casillas and Leal 2013). Casillas and Leal argue this is the only consistent factor. Additionally demographics matter. When a district has a higher proportion of foreign born individuals, Wong (2017) finds that the representative is less likely to vote for restrictive immigration policy. Additionally, an increased Latino population is associated with votes for less restrictive immigration policy (Wong 2014). However, when the Hispanic population is rapidly increasing in a republican district, this leads to more restrictive immigration policy (Ramakrishnan and Wong 2010.)


Slide 3:
This slide outlines based on the literature above, what might we expect the views of the representative of Arizona’s fourth congressional district to be on immigration. There are a few key findings. First, based on partisanship both of the representative and the district, since Paul Gosar is a Republican and the district leans heavily Republican, we would expect Gosar to support restrictive immigration policy. Only eight percent of the district is foreign born, so we would also anticipate more restrictive views from the district’s representative on immigration policy. The district is slightly more Hispanic than the national average (19.2% in AZ4 versus 17% nationally), so we would initially expect more moderate or permissive views on immigration policy. However, when we keep in mind that the Hispanic population is growing in an overwhelmingly Republican district, it follows that the representative for the district would vote in favor of restrictive immigration policy.


Slide 4:

This slide shows that not only does Paul Gosar support restrictive immigration as predicted, it is actually one of his central policy platforms. He has sponsored or co-sponsored 27 bills on the topics of immigrants and “aliens”, all of which seek to limit their presence in the country, harshen penalties, and limit their access to US resources. Almost half of his twitter use is about immigration, making references to crime and supporting the building of a wall. Immigration is also listed as one of the top three “priorities” that Gosar has on his website. These views are highly consistent with the current views of the Republican party. Additionally, Gosar’s support of these issues rely highly on language invoking national security and the interests of Arizonan’s who live near the border, implying it could be a highly salient issue for his constituency. It is unclear how these views impact his support among Hispanic voters in the district, but regardless, Gosar won every country in his district.

Joseph D. Morelle (NY-25)


Slide 1: Joseph D. Morelle (Democrat) serves as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 25th congressional district. This region is highly interesting in that it underwent a turnover from being consistently Republican within the past two decades. Morelle is the latest Democratic representative and his 17.2 point victory demonstrates the decreasing popularity of the Republican party with constituents. That aside, elections are typically close in NY-25 given the strong presence of both parties.

Slide 2: The literature provides insights into predicting voting behavior on the issue of immigration. Wong (2017) discusses median voter theorem, which posits that small foreign-born populations are correlated with increased support for restrictive policies on immigration. Furthermore, Wong (2014) contends that support for strict interior enforcement decreases as the Latino population rises. Casella & Leals (2013) support the notion that Republicans are more likely to support restriction. It is important to note that the aforementioned principle is widely held and not unique to Casella & Leals.

Slide 3: Based on these research findings, it is predicted that Joseph Morelle (D.) will support permissive immigration policies. Although the foreign-born and Hispanic populations are low, partisanship is expected to be the most influential factor. As a Democrat, it is likely that Morelle will take a pro-immigration posture. Given the conflict in the predicted outcome between these factors of demographics and party, will Morelle’s political expressions on immigration seem suppressed?

Slide 4: After investigating Morelle’s online platforms, it is clear that his positions on immigration are not particularly important to his political agenda. Tweet analysis yielded no results with the specified keywords (“immigration, ” “immigrant,” etc.) and his official congressional website did not include immigration on the list of relevant issues. The campaign website was found to be the exception to this: Morelle claims to be committed to “support[ing] the Dream Act… [and] fight[ing] to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” Despite this, Morelle only has a single key vote on immigration bills ( to co-sponsor the New York DREAM Fund commission.

Sheila Jackson Lee (D – TX18)

Link to slides

Slide 1: Since Sheila Jackson Lee’s election to office in 1994, she has won every election for TX-18’s representative seat. In the most recent elections (2008-present), Lee has won with a significant margin (between 42.9 and 57.0 points) over the Republican candidate. This suggests that TX-18 is a consistent Democratic and – coupling this with its high minority and immigrant population as well as its urban focus of Houston – progressive district.

Slide 2: Extant research has discovered many factors that are significantly related to representative’s votes in favour of restrictive/permissive immigration policy. While a high unemployment rate, being in the South, and having a Republican representative is correlated with supporting restrictive legislation, the following characteristics are associated with representative support for permissive policy: immigration-related protests in the area, recent influx of immigrants, a large share of agricultural jobs in the district, a large population, and a non-White representative. The employment factors imply that constituents’ job threat is a motivator for representatives supporting restrictive policy while agriculture businesses’ concerns about their immigrant day labourers / cheap labour push representatives to support permissive immigration policy. The physical presence of new immigrants and their political presence in protests (along with their allies) also push representatives to supporting permissive policy to protect and lift up their constituents. Further, the characteristics of the representative are understandably influential over their stances; namely, being a non-White representative is correlated with support for permissive policy (since non-Whites are likely to be more sympathetic/supportive of immigrants) while being a Republican (a de facto conservative party) is correlated with support for restrictive policy. Finally, the geographic context of the district plays a role too: the historically conservative and anti-minority South is predictably indicative of restrictive policy support.

Slide 3: Looking at the characteristics of TX-18 in relation to the determinants discussed in the previous slide, we can see that it is likely that Sheila Jackson Lee will be a supporter of permissive policy and an opponent of restrictive policy. Despite Houston being in a Southern state with no agriculture industry and relatively high unemployment, the determining factors on the other side of the story more strongly indicate the likely support of Lee for pro-immigrant policy. Firstly, as a liberal Democrat, she is of an ideology that is more welcoming of immigrants and, as a non-White representative she is more likely to push back against the ‘White America’ rationale that often pervades restrictionist thought. Secondly, the political protests that took place in Houston last year and in 2006 (as part of a national movement in response to HR 4437), along with the recency of a lot of the immigration into the district, is indicative of the constituent population’s needs and wishes that would drive Lee’s permissive policy support. The weighing up of both sides leads me to believe that Lee is more likely to support permissive policy than restrictive.

Slide 4: On Sheila Jackson Lee’s website, she dedicates one page to the issue of immigration. On this page, which represents 1 of 11 pages for miscellaneous issues and 6.4% of their overall substantive content, Lee describes her stance and actions concerned with immigration; namely, how she desires to protect Dreamers, find a path to naturalization for the existing undocumented immigrants in the county, protect families at the border, diversify the incoming immigrants, and prevent terrorists from entering the country. Regarding her actions on the matter, her press releases shed light on her work against the family separation occurring at the Southern border, her condemnation of Trump’s tweets and the GOP’s xenophobic remarks, her work towards comprehensive reform, and her efforts to secure temporary protected status for international victims of civil war and natural disasters. Despite this platform, her website contains no resources for immigrants and her campaign website contains no mention of immigration whatsoever. On Lee’s Twitter she is a frequent poster of pro-immigrant content and often posts anti-Trump messages which opposes his actions on immigration policy; beyond her own tweets, she retweets other representatives and pages that share messages of a similar nature. Lee’s bill-sponsorship record is indicative of her website and Twitter: they reflect efforts of comprehensive reform, anti-border wall, and national security. This is all demonstrative of the research findings from earlier slides.

Maya Aronoff-Michigan District 8

Assignment 1 District 8 Assignment 1 District

Elissa Slotkin is the new House Representative for Michigan’s 8th District, which encompasses parts of the capital city Lansing, Michigan State University, suburbs like East Lansing and Okemos, and rural areas including Livingston and Oakland counties. Slotkin was raised on a Michigan farm before serving multiple tours as a Pentagon negotiator in Iraq, working for the CIA, and advising both President Bush and President Obama on matters of national security.  She is currently serving her first term after defeating incumbent Mike Bishop in a narrow race in 2018, taking 50.6% of the vote compared to her opponent’s 46.8%.

Slotkin is the first Democratic representative of the 8th District since the late 1990s, although the district has vacillated in its support for Democrats and Republicans during Presidential races.  The district has a median household income of around $71,702, with about 11% of people below the poverty line and 8% making more than $200,000 a year, which places it roughly in the middle when compared to the wealth of other Michigan districts. The area is majority white (84%) and highly educated, with 95% of the adult population having a high school diploma or higher. The district’s highly educated, mostly white population, spread across cities, suburbs, a major university, and rural areas may be factors in its right-leaning, centrist policy preferences over time. However, dissatisfaction with Trump and Bishop’s attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act may have been a contributing factor to Slotkin’s victory. Slotkin focused her campaign primarily on health care and health concerns, the economy, clean water, and veterans issues. Slotkin’s background and personality may also have contributed to her appeal.  As a mom with personal experience with the broken health care system, a veteran who served in Iraq, a national security professional who served for both Democrats and Republicans, and a personable Michigan native who made a point of speaking to hundreds of constituents about their concerns, Slotkin likely came across as someone reasonable capable of bringing people together.

Existing literature has illustrated important correlations between the demographics of a district, the type of representative the district has, and the relative permissiveness of the immigration policy those representatives support. The strongest correlation exists between the party-aligned voting rates in a district, and the types of policies representatives support.  In general, higher percentages of Republican voters in a district correlate with more restrictive immigration policies (Ramakrishnan et al. 2010; Wong 2012; Casellas and Leal 2013). Research has suggested some correlations between the demographic makeup of districts and immigration policy as well. For example, districts with a higher percentage of foreign born population tend to have somewhat more accepting policies, and districts with a higher percentage of Latinos tend to have more accepting policies (Wong 2014).  However, demographic factors are contextualized by party preferences–for example, research has indicated that when the percentage of Latinos in a Republican district has recently grown, it correlates to more restrictive policies. Finally, the party of the representative plays a significant role in predicting immigration policy, with Republican representatives strongly tending to support more restrictive policies than Democratic representatives (Wong 2014; Wong 2017; Casellas and Leal 2013). Recent research by Professor Valenzuela also indicates a relationship between the representative’s party, the percentage of their party in their district, and support for the January 2019 vote to fund the Department of Homeland Security in order to re-open the government.  Valenzuela found that first term representatives, and Democratic representatives in polarized districts, were both likely to vote to fund the DHS.

These findings have mixed implications for predicting Slotkin’s future stance on immigration policy.  On the one hand, District 8 has a low percentage of foreign born and Latino populations (around 8% and 5%, lower than the national average), which might indicate more restrictive policies because there are fewer foreign-born populations to advocate for permissive immigration policies.  However, a lower percentage of Latinos in the right-leaning area also does not predict the kinds of backlash effects described by Wong. The Republican-leaning district also implies that restrictive policies are likely, but the highly polarized nature of the district indicates that policies–not just on immigration–are likely to be more in the political center, because the representative must avoid alienating either side to maintain support. The fact that Slotkin is a new representative, and a Democrat leading a polarized district both indicate that she likely voted to fund the Department of Homeland Security in 2019, and her status as a Democratic representative makes permissive immigration policies more likely overall.  The mixed implications of Slotkin’s identity and district makeup make it likely that she will support slightly restrictive, but not extreme immigration policies–but the literature does not predict whether or not she will focus on immigration policy at all.

In fact, Slotkin has not focused on immigration policy, either in her campaign or in her time in office so far. Although Slotkin did vote to fund DHS, as Valenzuela’s analysis would suggest, this was the only immigration-related legislation she has voted on.  Instead, Slotkin has consistently supported Democratic legislation on economic, environmental, and other social issues, and co-sponsored bipartisan gun control legislation. This is consistent with the priorities she articulated during her campaign. Her campaign website never mentioned immigration, instead focusing on issues like health care and the opioid epidemic, and her Congressional website doesn’t mention the issue either. During her campaign she never tweeted about immigration, and since taking office has only tweeted six times–mainly focusing on the need to end the shutdown for the sake of federal workers’ jobs.  In interviews, Slotkin has articulated increased border security in the form of agents and technology, opposed the border wall, emphasized the need for immigration for Michigan’s agricultural sector, and supported a path to citizenship for DACA kids and the right to seek asylum. Slotkin argues her national security background and experience as a negotiator will enable her to reach bipartisan compromise on immigration in the future. Slotkin avoiding immigration policy makes sense, since the low foreign born and Latino population she represents may not see immigration policy as a priority, or an issue the polarized district can agree on.


Representation on Immigration in MD-01

Representation on Immigration in MD-01

Slide 1

Slide 1 indicates that Republicans have been dominant in MD-01 congressional elections. This can be partially attributed to the redistricting that took effect in 2012. Though the district was represented both by Republicans and Democrats in the years before redistricting, from 2012 onward Republicans won MD-01 by large margins. This slide also indicates that because GOP margins tend to be very large in MD-01, the Member of Congress likely has more incentive to respond to electoral threat in the primary, rather than general, election.


Slide 2

Slide 2 reviews the literature about how local context and Member of Congress characteristics can inform immigration policymaking in general. I zero in on three features that are relevant to my district. The first is foreign-born population. Wong (2017) found that the higher the district foreign-born population, the less likely the Member will be to vote for restrictive immigration bills. It is important to note that Wong refers to the entire foreign-born population in a district, not just the voting foreign-born population, though he also writes that a higher rate ofnaturalized citizenship predicts a Member will be less likely to vote for restrictive immigration bills. The second is district party voting rates and MC party. GOP Members of Congress and Members of Congress who represent districts with higher GOP voting rates will be more likely to vote for restrictive immigration bills (Casellas and Leal 2013). The third is Latino population. Wong (2014) finds that Members of Congress who represent districts with larger Latino populations are less likely to vote for interior enforcement bills.


Slide 3

Based on the factors listed in slide 2, I predict that Rep. Andy Harris will be likely to vote for more restrictive immigration bills and interior enforcement bills. This is because (1) MD-01’s foreign-born population is less than 40% of the country as a whole; (2) MD-01 is represented by a Republican and has significantly higher GOP voting rates than the country as a whole; and (3) MD-01 has a significantly lower Latino population than the country as a whole.


Slide 4

Immigration has been an important issue for Rep. Harris in 2019 compared to other years. Of the 1017 bills Harris has co-sponsored during his time in the House, 40 have been related to immigration (4.3%). In 2019 alone, Harris has co-sponsored 4 bills related to immigration, 9.3% of all the bills he has co-sponsored. Harris’ website reserves one of its eight issue areas for immigration. Harris writes on his website that “securing our border is the first step to ending illegal immigration into the United States.” Finally, 24% of Harris’ 50 tweets between January 1 and March 1 were related to immigration. Harris frequently demonstrated his support for a border wall and for President Trump’s national emergency declaration.

LA3 – Clay Higgins

Link to Slides

While LA3 has historically been a Democratic district, since the 2010 election the population has voted solidly Republican. In Louisiana, a primary is held before the general election, where the two candidates with the highest vote counts appear on the runoff ballot. However, if any candidate wins a majority of votes in the primary, the general election is cancelled. This notably happened in the 2018 general election, where Clay Higgins was re-elected with 55.7% of the vote. Notably, in the 2012, 2014, and 2016 elections, no Democrat made it even out of the primaries, indicating a complete dominance of Republicans in the district. As an extreme example, the 2016 election where Higgins first won his seat saw two Republicans move on to the runoff, with a combined 176,444 votes. The third-place candidate (a Democrat) only garnered 28,385 votes. This Republican dominance is not surprising for a Southern state, but as we will see, these voting patterns conflict with voter registration data.

Broadly speaking, literature on immigration policymaking all points to the conclusion that a representative’s partisanship is the single strongest predictor of their votes. Tichenor notes that this has not always been the case; in the past, immigration reform had cross-cutting cleavages, as pro-business Republicans and cosmopolitan Democrats banded together to support expansion, while union Democrats and Republican cultural protectionists supported restrictionism (2009). However, Wong’s research points to the fact that immigration has become a much more consistent partisan issue since the passing of H.R. 4437 (2014). Today we can observe that party stance is a consistent indicator of immigration stance, with Republicans vying for restrictionism, and Democrats supporting expansionism. This finding is echoed by Casellas and Leal, though they add that a somewhat weaker, though still significant, factor is the party voting rate in a representative’s home district (2013). While in the majority of cases, the most active party will elect a representative of their own party, it is important to make the distinction. Casellas and Leal also make the case that to some degree a representative will behave in a way that sets them up for re-election. For instance, they note that in districts with large Latino populations, a candidate of either party may want to support immigrants. This influence is dubbed “electoral threat”. This ties in well with Wong’s findings as well, as he finds that Latino population size correlates with a representative’s voting pattern, regardless of their party. Finally, in another article Wong reports that having a large foreign-born population can be linked to votes for expansionist policy (2017). It is not unreasonable to theorize that this could be due to the same electoral threat posed by Latino populations.

Given these predictions, it is fairly easy to predict what Clay Higgins’ stance on immigration will be. First of all, Higgins is a Republican. That alone makes it probable that he will support restrictionist policies. If that wasn’t enough, LA3 has almost no Hispanic population (3.8%) and an equally small foreign-born population (3.1%). Since the groups that typically would pose an electoral threat are almost nonexistent, it might seem that there is no reason for Higgins to ever consider supporting an expansionist policy. There is, however, one interesting quirk. Despite the massive Republican wins in LA3 in the past decade, Democrats actually constitute the largest group of eligible voters in the district (in the 2018 general election, Democrats were 40% of the electorate, versus 32% of Republicans). In this sense, Democrats could be interpreted as posing some threat to Higgins’ potential re-election. Yet in the 2018 primary, Higgins won a majority of the vote (55.7%). The second-place candidate, a Democrat, earned only 17.8%. Even though the electorate is largely registered Democrats, they all seem to vote Republican. Given this lack of opposition, we can further predict that Higgins will vote for restrictionist policies, but that he can be highly vocal about topics such as illegal immigration, the Border Wall, and ICE, as there appears to be no significant group that would turn against him.

Higgins’ time in office agrees with these predictions. On the 20 immigration bills that Higgins has voted on, he has voted the party line every single time. Furthermore, immigration seems to be a relatively important issue for him: he has sponsored 5 immigration bills, constituting 20% of his total sponsorships. Recently, he even authored a bill entitled “Supporting the officers and personnel who carry out the important mission of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement” that directly opposed another representative’s initiative to dissolve ICE. Higgins’ committee membership further confirms this. He is only on two committees, one of which is the Homeland Security committee. He is even the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Border Security, Facility, and Operations. What we observe in Higgins’ web presence more or less confirms these predictions as well. His website places a high emphasis on border security, mentioning it twice on its homepage. Some 40% of his 20 press releases this year mention immigration. In fact, his only video press release this year was a blistering rant about the need for a Border Wall, where he states “Criminal cartels control 100% of the Mexican side of our [border]”. Higgins’ Twitter is similarly unabashed, as 32% of his very active Twitter talks about immigration, often in the context of drug dealers, gang members, and sex trafficking operations. Overall, it is wholly unsurprising that Higgins is as pro-restrictionism as he is, nor is surprising that he very publicly expresses these views. Higgins has long been known for his candor, and he continues to apply that to immigration, stating just this week that: “We have D-Day every month on our southern border.” And given the makeup of LA3, there is no reason for this pattern to change.



CT-5: Nate Moore


Slide 1

Connecticut’s fifth district includes northern and western portions of the state and houses both rural and urban voters. The district has been in Democratic hands for the past decade, and had been represented by three different people in that timespan. Despite this decade of Democratic control, prior to 2008 the seat was controlled by a Republican. Margins of congressional victory were often in the single digits and Hillary Clinton won the district by only four points. Chris Murphy, the congressman between 2008-2012, retired in order to run for an open senate seat. Elizabeth Etsy, who replaced Murphy and was in office for six years, did not run for reelection because of claims she covered up sexual harassment. The 2018 election featured Republican Manny Santos, an immigrant himself, and Democrat Jahana Hayes. Riding the 2018 blue wave, Hayes, the 2016 national teacher of the year, won the seat in 2018 and became the first African American congresswoman from Connecticut.

Slide 2

In the past decade, the United States congress has become increasingly polarized. Few true moderates remain. Immigration, described by Tichenor as a cross cutting cleavage, used to split both the Republican and Democratic parties. Yet today partisanship is the strongest indicator of how a member of congress will vote on an immigration bill. Republicans are far more likely to support restrictionist legislation then Democrats (Wong 2014; Casillas and Leal 2013). Non-white Democratic members are more likely support pro-immigrant policies, but the results do not extend to their minority Republican colleagues (Wong 2014). Additionally, counties with large population sizes are more likely to cooperate with ICE and request federal assistance under the 287(g) program (Wong 2012). Furthermore, Ramakrishnan and Wong found in their 2010 paper that districts containing large agricultural sectors are less likely to support restrictionist immigration policies (Wong 2014). The other demographic factors explored yielded conflicting or lack of statistical significance. These factors included minority wage competition and Asian population size.

Slide 3

Based upon the existing literature, several things can be reasonably predicted about Connecticut’s fifth district. Foremost, because Rep. Hayes is a Democrat, it is likely she will vote against any restrictionist bills that appear on the House floor. Furthermore, Rep. Hayes is African-American so, yet again, she is more likely to oppose restrictionist legislation. Connecticut 5 is almost three quarters white, however, so it is also possible this effect will be diminished. The average population size of a congressional district is roughly 710,000 people; Connecticut’s fifth contains about 715,000 people according to census data. Thus, representatives are not more likely to cooperate with ICE and participate in the 287(g) program. Finally, agriculture is a vital part of the economy in CT-5, especially in the rural northwestern part of the state. As a result, Rep. Hayes is more likely to support pro-immigrant policies.

Slide 4

Immigration is not an especially important issue for Rep. Hayes and her voting record and social media presence is reflective of such. Since taking office in early January of this year, Hayes has co-sponsored 49 bills, one of which related to immigration– a condemnation of the national emergency declaration by President Trump. She has yet to sponsor her own bill. During the government shutdown, Hayes voted each time with House Democrats to re-open portions of the federal government. She has taken a strong stance against President Trump’s immigration policies, especially the border wall. Her campaign website features a lengthy immigration section that outlines her support for DACA and a path to citizenship. However, immigration is not included as an issue on her new official congressional website. Rather than focus on immigration, Hayes, a former teacher, has focused the majority of her efforts on education and gun control bills. Twitter content, both before and after the election, only confirms the above analysis. Only three tweets related to immigration from January 1 , 2018- November 6, 2018, suggesting that even during the campaign Hayes was not very concerned with immigration. This seems odd because the Republican whom she was running against was an immigrant himself.  After being sworn in, a mere of 2.9% (8 of 272) of her tweets have been related to immigration. Almost all of these attacked President Trump and his border wall during the January government shutdown.

Rep. Anthony Brown MD, District 4

Link to Slides: Assignment 1


Slide 1: Democrats have dominated this districts, as they dominate most of Maryland. After long term incumbent, Donna Edwards decided to run for the senate, Anthony Brown took over as District 4 Representative. The district is made up of interesting constituents due to Gerrymandering. A smaller section is made up of more white conservative residents, while a majority of the area is urban and mostly has a democratic racial minority population. There had been a few libertarian candidates and one green party candidate in recent years, however none of them have had an impact. The democratic dominance in this district goes far beyond the past 10 years.


Slide 2: Research shows that the party is the highest determinant as to how the representative will respond to immigration policy. Also, even though the district is heavily minority (over 50% African American), this does not likely have an effect on how the representative will vote on immigration policy. And an African-American representative is less likely to support interior enforcement of restrictionist policies. Finally, smaller counties will be less likely to conform to enforcing federal government immigration policies.


Slide 3: With a small number of immigrants and Hispanic population and a non-white representative, immigration is not likely to be a very important topic to this representative. However, because he is a democrat he will vote against restrictionist policies. Finally, it is a small district so hewill be less likely to conform to enforcing federal government immigration policies


Slide 4: Most signs point to this representative not caring much about immigration. However, he has some tweets about Trump and his wall efforts being fake and a joke. He is stating it is not a national emergency. However, in these tweets he does mention border security a lot. This is likely because he is former military and pro-defense.

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