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The Relation of Drug Trafficking Fears and Cultural Identity to Attitudes Toward Mexican Immigrants in Five South Texas Communities

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  • Manuel Ramirez
  • Nanci L. Argueta
  • Yessenia Castro
  • Ricardo Perez
  • Darius B. Dawson

Abstract

This paper reports the findings of research investigating the relationship of spill-over fears related to drug trafficking and of cultural identity to Mexican Americans’ attitudes toward recent immigrants from Mexico in five non-metropolitan communities in the US–Mexico borderlands of South Texas. A mixed methods design was used to collect data from 91 participants (30 intact families with two parents and at least one young adult). Quantitative findings showed that the majority of participants expressed the view that most people in their communities believed that newcomers were involved in drug trafficking and in defrauding welfare programs. A significant interaction indicated that Mexican cultural identity buffered the negative effects of drug trafficking fears as related to the view that the newcomers were creating problems in the communities and region. Qualitative data yielded positive and negative themes, with those that were negative being significantly more numerous. The findings have implications for intra-ethnic relations in borderlands communities as well as for immigration policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuel Ramirez & Nanci L. Argueta & Yessenia Castro & Ricardo Perez & Darius B. Dawson, 2016. "The Relation of Drug Trafficking Fears and Cultural Identity to Attitudes Toward Mexican Immigrants in Five South Texas Communities," Journal of Borderlands Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(1), pages 91-105, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rjbsxx:v:31:y:2016:i:1:p:91-105
    DOI: 10.1080/08865655.2015.1124244
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