Source: Yuen J. Huo, John F. Dovidio, Tomás R. Jiménez, and Deborah J. Schildkraut, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS 2018, published ahead of print January 16, 2018
From the abstract:
In the past 15 years, the adoption of subnational immigration policies in the United States, such as those established by individual states, has gone from nearly zero to over 300 per year. These include welcoming policies aimed at attracting and incorporating immigrants, as well as unwelcoming policies directed at denying immigrants access to public resources and services. Using data from a 2016 random digit-dialing telephone survey with an embedded experiment, we examine whether institutional support for policies that are either welcoming or hostile toward immigrants differentially shape Latinos’ and whites’ feelings of belonging in their state (Arizona/New Mexico, adjacent states with contrasting immigration policies). We randomly assigned individuals from the representative sample (n = 1,903) of Latinos (US and foreign born) and whites (all US born) to consider policies that were either welcoming of or hostile toward immigrants. Across both states of residence, Latinos, especially those foreign born, regardless of citizenship, expressed more positive affect and greater belonging when primed with a welcoming (vs. hostile) policy. Demonstrating the importance of local norms, these patterns held among US-born whites, except among self-identified politically conservative whites, who showed more negative affect and lower levels of belonging in response to welcoming policies. Thus, welcoming immigration policies, supported by institutional authorities, can create a sense of belonging not only among newcomers that is vital to successful integration but also among a large segment of the population that is not a direct beneficiary of such policies—US-born whites.
Subnational immigrant policies (i.e., those instituted at the state level in the United States) are not only key to successful integration, they send a message about who belongs. Our evidence suggests that welcoming state-level immigrant policies lead to greater belonging among foreign-born Latinos, US-born Latinos, and even US-born whites. Only self-identified politically conservative whites showed depressed feelings of belonging when state policies support immigrants. Patterns remained constant across states that vary in their historic reception of immigrants (Arizona and New Mexico). These findings suggest that debates about the polarizing effects of immigration policies by racial group are misplaced. With a majority of whites nationally identifying as either liberal or moderate, welcoming immigration policies have direct and spillover effects that can further national unity.
Immigrant-friendly policies make most whites feel welcomed, too
Source: John Timmer, Ars Technica, January 17, 2018
Only Caucasian conservatives feel uncomfortable in a state that welcomes immigrants.