All Along the Watchtower: Acculturation Fear, Anti-Latino Affect, and Immigration

Bradford S. Jones, Regina Branton (University of North Texas), Erin C. Cassese (West Virginia University), and Chad Westerland (University of Arizona)
Published in
The Journal of Politics (2011)

In this article, we consider how the factors driving Anglo attitudes toward immigration changed in the post-9/11era. We argue that in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the immigration issue became nationalized, framed in a threat context. In this context, acculturation fear and anti-Latino sentiment are strong predictors of restrictionist sentiment; in the pre-9/11 period, these factors have little substantive impact on Anglo attitudes. We theorize that the current climate has helped ‘‘activate’’ social identities, which in turn has deleterious consequences for the Latinos in the United States. Using data from the 2000 and 2004 National Election Studies, we estimate a model of Anglo immigration attitudes. We show indicators of acculturation fear, anti-Latino sentiment, and media exposure significantly relate to Anglo immigration attitudes in the post-9/11 period but not the pre-9/11 period.