Political implications of U.S. public attitudes toward immigration on the immigration policymaking process
Valerie F. Hunt
Three developments in U.S. public attitudes have emerged since the 2001 terrorist attacks. First, Americans have shifted their thinking about the salience or importance of immigration issues. Second, they have changed their level of attentiveness to immigration as a national problem. Third, as awareness of immigration issues and divisiveness in political parties have increased, they have begun to use immigration as an evaluative criterion for vote choice. ; This study analyzes the causes and implications of these shifts in public attitudes toward immigration on the U.S. political landscape. Specifically, I address how changes in public attitudes have political implications for the 2006 midterm elections and on current policy reform efforts. Real-world conditions shape U.S. immigration policy and the country’s ability to control unwanted migration. The impact of these real-world conditions cannot be understood without taking into consideration the role of U.S. public attitudes in the policy process. I argue that the impact of these real-world conditions on immigration is mediated by public perceptions of these factors.
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