Changing the face of American culture: A new perspective on immigration

Stephanie Ann Quezada, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Immigration in the United States is currently a focal political and social issue. The nation's support for restricting immigration stems in part from the cultural threats made salient after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and from the recent influx of immigrants. The present research investigated the implications of perceiving immigration as voluntary or involuntary and permanent or temporary. Experiment 1, a pilot study, showed that U.S. citizens expect voluntary and permanent immigrants to assimilate to mainstream American culture. Experiment 1 also showed that U.S. citizens expressed greater anger toward immigrants who were permanently staying in the U.S., and greater sympathy toward involuntary immigrants and immigrants who were temporarily staying in the U.S. Experiment 2 extended the findings of Experiment 1 with a controlled experimental design to test the political implications of perceiving immigration as voluntary or involuntary and permanent or temporary. Experiment 2 showed that U.S. citizens expect permanent immigrants to assimilate to mainstream American culture. Experiment 2 also showed that U.S. citizens expressed greater sympathy toward involuntary immigrants and immigrants who were temporarily staying in the U.S. Participants' endorsement of assimilation, American identity, and ethnic identity were differentially associated with sympathy toward immigrants, perceptions of cultural change, realistic threat, and endorsement of anti-immigration legislation. This line of research extends previous research investigating voluntary and involuntary immigration, and introduces the distinctions of permanent and temporary immigration in the context of cultural inertia. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social

Recommended Citation

Quezada, Stephanie Ann, "Changing the face of American culture: A new perspective on immigration" (2013). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3597246.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3597246

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