During the 2016 election, Donald Trump castigated unauthorized immigrants as “murderers and rapists.” During his presidency, he continued the use of this rhetoric, explicitly linking unauthorized migrants to threatening narratives. Here, we consider three questions: Did Donald Trump and his immigration positions serve as an “anxiety trigger” for Latina/os? Are individuals with contextually stigmatized attributes especially sensitive to Trump and his policy proposals? Is Spanish language itself, an attribute negatively stigmatized in the context of the immigration issue, sufficient to increase deportation anxiety? Utilizing survey experiments of Latina/os, we demonstrate that exposure to a Trump immigration cue is sufficient to increase anxiety about deportation. We also demonstrate that stigmatized attributes predict anxiety, but do not moderate the effect of the Trump cue. Lastly, we provide evidence that survey language affects anxiety among Latina/os. In Studies 1 (n = 736) and 2 (n = 1,040), we show that exposure to information about Trump’s immigration agenda significantly increases reports about deportation anxiety. In Study 3 (n = 1,734), we show that the Trump exposure condition induces heightened anxiety but that Latina/o attributes (language proficiency and use, immigration status, assessed phenotype) and identity strength have an independent effect on deportation anxiety. In Study 4 (n = 775), we randomized bilingual respondents into Spanish or English language survey protocols and found that comparable bilinguals exposed to Spanish language report higher levels of anxiety compared to English-language survey takers.
Authors: Bradford S. Jones, Jeffrey W. Sherman, Natalie E. Rojas, Adrienne Hosek, David L. Vannette, Rene R. Rocha, Omar García-Ponce, Maria Pantoja, Jesus Manuel García-Amador
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