CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Immigration, Latinos and 2016 Elections, CIPR Event Summary

On Friday, October 14, 2016, the Center of Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR) hosted a panel to discuss immigration, Latinos, and the upcoming presidential elections. Dr. Louis DeSipio (UC Irvine), Dr. Jennifer Merolla (UC Riverside), and Tom Wong (UC San Diego), presented their research and explained what their findings could mean for the upcoming election.
Dr. DeSipio presented research showing that immigration has become more salient in the American political arena due to increased immigration, greater activism within immigrant communities, and a growing native backlash against high levels of immigration. However, despite this rising salience, increased political polarization over the past 30 years has decreased the chances of comprehensive immigration reform.
Dr. Merolla presented work from her book Framing Immigrants: News Coverage, Public Opinion and Policy (Russell Sage, 2016). Along with her co-authors, Chris Haynes and S. Karthick Ramakrishnan, this work explores the seemingly conflicting views the public has on immigration.
For example, polls have shown that while a majority of people supported President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a majority of people also supported Arizona’s restrictive immigration law passed in 2010. Their findings indicate that how an issue is framed noticeably influences how that issue is perceived.
Dr. Wong spoke to the current political environment and discussed current Latino electoral participation and how “get out the vote” efforts influence voters. Arguing that while even a heated political environment may not increase voter turn out, preliminary research showed that utilizing phone-canvassing scripts that emphasize certain messages over others can actually increase participation.
Overall, this panel brought together scholars and researchers from both the Tulane and wider academic communities. CIPR looks forward to continuing the discussion of this important issue on campus and encouraging further collaboration and research in the role immigration and immigrant communities play in the US political system.

For more information about this topic, please consult the most recent works by our panelists:
Jennifer Merolla, Chris Haynes and S. Karthick Ramakrishnan (2016) Framing Immigrants: News Coverage, Public Opinion and Policy.
Louis Desipio and Rodolfo O. de la Garza (2015) U.S. Immigration in the Twenty-First Century: Making Americans, Remaking America.
Tom Wong (forthcoming, 2016) The Politics of Immigration: Partisanship, Demographic Change, and American National Identity.&

This panel was organized by CIPR post-doctoral fellow Rachel Navarre

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