Future Directions in Research Regarding Attitudes Toward Immigrants

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Zárate, M. A. and Quezada, S. A. (2012), Future Directions in Research Regarding Attitudes Toward Immigrants. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 12: 160-166. doi:10.1111/j.1530-2415.2011.01270.x


Immigration became a political concern after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Since then, states are implementing legislation that targets immigrant groups. In response, researchers have begun to investigate the consequences of immigration policies in the United States. For this special issue of Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, the editors compiled a series of articles that highlight how the new political dynamics are influencing the lives of immigrants, often in reaction to Arizona SB 1070. This commentary summarizes the key topics discussed in the series of articles and provides suggestions for new research. It is proposed that prejudice towards immigrants is now “allowed” by the new social norms and that such prejudice produces new questions rarely addressed in the literature. The realities that some immigrants bring to the country (like reduced homicide rates) contrast the political rhetoric, and those distinctions provide great opportunities for research. In addition, the change brought about by large immigrant populations can influence self‐perceptions of what many Americans consider the national identity, which is also rarely studied. This special issue provides a great step in this research endeavor, and it is proposed that there are multiple possible paths to productive research regarding prejudice towards immigrants.