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How Watershed Immigration Policies Affect American Public Opinion Over a Lifetime


  • Marisa Abrajano
  • Lydia Lundgren


type="main" xml:id="imre12082-abs-0001"> Important political events are known to influence political socialization and development (Green, Palmquist, and Schickler ). It is also possible that such events impact political socialization within particular age cohorts, and also across important social groups who may be impacted differently by landmark events. This paper examines whether landmark immigration events can leave a permanent mark on an individual's views toward immigrants and immigration, and whether that impact varies across different ethnic/racial groups in the United States Specifically, we examine the cohort of individuals who were in their formative years during the passage of major US immigration bills that were proposed or enacted from 1965 to 2010. Altogether, we focus on four pieces of landmark immigration legislation. The findings reveal variations on the effect of these events depending on the group in question; a relationship also emerges between these landmark legislative events and attitudes on immigration policies. The analysis contributes to an ongoing debate regarding the ways in which political elites influence attitudes, and we discuss how the findings may apply to other contexts outside the US.

Suggested Citation

  • Marisa Abrajano & Lydia Lundgren, 2015. "How Watershed Immigration Policies Affect American Public Opinion Over a Lifetime," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 70-105, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:intmig:v:49:y:2015:i:1:p:70-105

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