Overview of recent studies on U.S. immigration issues, including the demographic traits of unauthorized residents and the empirical truths about exclusionary attitudes.
From White House executive action and Congressional pushback to child migrant increases and varying deportation figures, it can be hard to keep track of the news tick-tock on the immigration issue in the United States.
Likewise, it can be difficult to keep up with the myriad academic journals and reports, as a large network of social science researchers across the country continues to produce volumes of material on these issues.
Many aspects of U.S. immigration have been studied for decades. Others are just emerging. In any case, many of the latest studies represent the soundest evidence available in an atmosphere of overheated debate.
Below are 12 relatively recent reports and studies worth checking out, either for background or potential story angles:
- What are the demographic characteristics of unauthorized immigrants versus legal immigrants? A 2014 study in the Journal of Population Economics exploring differences in marriage status, education, fertility and more.
- Farm workers from Mexico: This 2016 study from researchers at the University of California, Davis indicates a drop-off in the agricultural labor supply from rural Mexico, a key source of hired workers for U.S. farms.
- Migration and Remittances: A 2016 report from The World Bank looks at how much money migrants send to relatives in their home countries.
- Political effects of the Spanish language in the United States: Survey experiments and demographic analysis: A 2014 study in Political Communication that uses empirical tests and voter analysis to show different political responses to Spanish among Democrats and Republicans.
- Immigration and crime: A 2016 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology suggests that communities with substantial increases in immigration experience a sharper reduction in crime than communities without such large increases in immigration.
- Testing exclusionary attitudes toward immigrants: A 2014 study from Harvard based on field tests that shows how contact with others of different backgrounds can affect majority community attitudes.
- “Illegal,” “undocumented,” “unauthorized”: The impact of issue frames on perceptions of immigrants:A 2013 study from Claremont Graduate University and University of California-Riverside demonstrating how language typically does not affect specific policy views but can affect public opinion.
- Public attitudes toward immigration: A 2014 study from scholars at Stanford and Georgetown universities points out that attitudes toward immigration are seldom driven by economic factors and are more likely explained by cultural factors.
- How immigrants influence public support for welfare programs: A 2015 study in the American Journal of Political Science finds that “how Americans think about immigration and immigrants is a major factor in how they think about welfare.”
- Slowdown in the economic assimilation of immigrants: A 2013 study from Harvard University for the National Bureau of Economic Research on generational changes in the mobility of U.S. immigrants.
- Residential segregation in new Hispanic destinations: Cities, suburbs and rural communities: A 2010 study from Cornell and Mississippi State on how Latinos are more segregated in new destination places, particularly in the suburbs and rural areas.
- Who doesn’t value English? Debunking myths about Mexican immigrants’ attitudes: A 2012 study inSocial Science Quarterly on the importance that U.S. immigrants, particularly from Mexico and Latin America, place on learning English.
Keywords: crime, citizenship, INS, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, ESOL, ESL, welfare, housing