Immigration Politics


Founded and built by immigrants, the U.S. has a complicated relationship with newcomers and the political, economic and cultural changes that they cause. In this junior workshop, we will examine some of the most important research about the politics, policymaking process, and media coverage of immigration in the U.S. These works will address some of the following.

How have national electoral politics, policymaking in Congress and the U.S. states, and local and national media coverage affected, and been affected by, immigrants and recent patterns of immigration to the U.S.? How is immigration rhetoric used in elections, and with what consequences for voters’ preferences? To what extent do inclusionary and exclusionary immigration policies, as well as nongovernmental organizations such as churches, nonprofits and advocacy groups, affect the day-to-day experiences and social and political integration of immigrants in this country? How do members of Congress vote on immigration policy, and to what extent do they follow their constituents’ preferences? When do local population changes affect the public’s views about immigrants and immigration policy? What roles do economic interests, xenophobic bias, and cultural concerns play in the public’s attitudes about immigrants and immigration policy?

The assigned readings will be used to unpack some of the existing answers to these questions, as well as to illustrate research designs and potential approaches for conducting your own independent junior paper research. Special emphasis will be placed on critically engaging with this prior research to identify unconvincing, outdated, or unaddressed questions in need of further investigation (by you). A wide range of positive (i.e., not normative) research questions about immigration politics and policymaking, such as those above, as well as different methodological approaches (e.g., quantitative OR qualitative) may be pursued in this workshop. For example, you might propose a research project analyzing survey, polling or election results data; designing a field, lab or survey experiment; conducting qualitative interviews or comparative case studies; analyzing traditional or online/social media coverage; investigating Congressional or other legislative roll-call votes; and others depending on student interests.