This paper examines three competing interpretations of support for tougher immigration restrictions. One interpretation posits that tighter restrictions are favored by those in direct competition with immigrants for jobs, namely low or unskilled workers who toil in labor markets that are low-paying and often unstable. A second line of thought is that greater restrictions are favored by workers who perceive immigrants as potential competitors in labor markets, even though there may be no real basis for such perceptions. The third interpretation explaining support for tougher restrictions is rooted in a broad based cultural nativism or nationalism, and relies heavily on traditional theories of prejudice and discrimination. Data for the study are derived from the 1992 National Election Survey, Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. Contrary to theoretical expectations, neither actual nor perceived economic insecurity explain variations in current levels of support for tougher immigration restrictions among American workers. The theoretical significance of the findings are discussed and elaborated. Suggestions are made for future research in this important area of inquiry.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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