News Discourse, Political Awareness, and Lived Experience: American Public Opinion on Immigration Across Racial Lines
Since the founding of the United States, immigration has been a prominent political issue. Given this significance of immigration for public opinion, scholars have worked to identify what factors shape individuals’ attitudes towards immigration. However, most existing works have focused on explaining whites’ immigration attitudes. Consequently, we know little about how racial minorities assess the issue. This is an unfortunate gap in our knowledge considering the growing influence of minorities in the U.S. My dissertation research seeks to expand our understanding in how public opinion on immigration varies across racial groups. I conduct a content analysis of the news discourse to examine what considerations of immigration are available and to extent for white Americans, Black Americans, Asians, and Latinos. Then, I investigate how these considerations actually predict immigration attitudes across racial lines. Finally, I explore how two types of individual predispositions—political awareness and lived experience—moderate the associations between the considerations and individuals’ immigration opinions. I conclude with discussing the limitations of my research and directions for future research.