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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Politics and Government: Political Science

First Advisor

Carlos A. Parodi


United States immigration policies are influenced by a number of domestic and international factors. While international structures must be considered as important contributors, it is suggested here that domestic concerns play a much more prominent role in shaping immigration policy outcomes. As a result, the framing strategies employed by those who seek to shape public opinion become significantly important considerations. This project examines both the international as well as domestic structures which converge to influence immigration policy, while providing an experimentally based empirical analysis of the more predominant framing strategies utilized to influence public opinion and immigration policy in the United States. Consistent with the results found in previous studies, I find that appeals to security concerns, nativism and lost economic opportunity are effective framing strategies, and that there is rather significant support for "fixing" immigration policy in general. The international community suggests that failure to conform to internationally accepted human rights norms has led to the exploitation of immigrant populations in the United States. Appeals to humanitarian concerns have been suggested as a potentially effective framing strategy to advance progressive immigration policy changes. To measure the effectiveness of this argument, I conducted an experiment asking participants to first answer a series of questions regarding their opinions regarding immigration policies and immigrants. Participants were then randomly assigned to one of three `frames', a human rights rationale for immigration reform, a restrictive immigration position, or a subject-neutral control frame. I then asked participants to once again provide answers to the same questions initially posed. I find that while the human rights frame failed to alter previously held opinion, "fixing" immigration policy is an important and relevant concern and that following the introduction of a restrictive frame, previously held opinion was changed in a statistically significant manner.


Imported from ProQuest Smilie_ilstu_0092N_10225.pdf


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