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Friday, April 24th

Poster Number: 070

How Party Affiliation Affects Perceptions toward Undocumented Immigrants: A Research Survey of University Students

Catalina Harmon, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Hye-Sung Kim, Ph.D., and Scott Huffmon, Ph.D.

Today’s political climate is extremely polarized in several issues, including the topic of immigration. Democrats and Republicans, for example, show very different views on immigration policies, overall, as well as ones toward undocumented immigrants. In this study, using a “within-variation” experiment, the first action is to measure the extent to which people’s support for immigration is affected by various characteristics of immigrants, such as immigrants’ country of origin, age, legal status, education level, reason for coming to the United States, and risk of life in the country of origin. Then, using conditional analyses, this study will also explore how support for undocumented immigrants varies by partisan affiliations of respondents for the given characteristics of immigrants. For the country of origin characteristics, immigrants’ country of origin varies among five countries, Mexico, China, Iran, Philippines, Germany and Nigeria. The data will be collected via an online survey with a target population of students (ages 18-24) from Winthrop University and the Citadel, using a convenient sampling. It is expected that, in both university samples, party affiliation will have a significant impact on respondents’ support for undocumented immigrants, with less polarization than among general population samples. It is also expected that support for undocumented immigrants from Mexico will be less than support for those from other countries, particularly from Germany, but only among the respondents who identify themselves as republican.

Poster Number: 071

The Influence of Common Reminders on Attitudes toward Immigrants

Elle Martinez, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Matthew Hayes, Ph.D.

Xenophobia, the fear of what an outgroup can do to one's community, comes from fear of the unknown. Dual Process Model describes two different pathways to outgroup prejudice and xenophobia. One way involves beliefs that the world is dangerous, and people should value tradition and follow authorities (Right-Wing Authoritarianism), which leads to xenophobia because of the threat outsiders pose to security. The second pathway leads to a competitive jungle in which all groups compete for position in a social hierarchy (Social Dominance Orientation), which leads to xenophobia because outsiders threaten to take resources and push one’s group down the hierarchy. Mortality salience, the awareness of one’s death, can amplify these negative attitudes, but may not be commonly encountered in daily life. A daily encounter would be social media. In the 2016 election and as President, Trump uses xenophobic language (e.g., “building a wall”) on Twitter. This study compared effects of mortality salience and xenophobic tweets on negative attitudes toward immigrants. 158 students who completed an online survey assessed SDO and RWA. Then, participants were assigned to one of the following conditions: read three negative tweets about immigrants from President Trump (condition) or read three tweets on non-immigrant topics (control); write about death and what happens afterward (condition), or write about dental pain (control). Finally, participants completed a version of the modern racism scale modified to assess attitudes toward immigrants. Results indicate that commonly encountered reminders, such as tweets made by President Trump about immigrants and non-immigrants, do not trigger additional anti-immigrant attitudes.

Poster Number: 072

The Relationship between Social Dominance Orientation and Ethnocentrism: The Case of Attitudes toward Illegal Immigration

Elle Martinez, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Hye-Sung Kim, Ph.D., and Scott Huffmon, Ph.D.

This study investigates individuals’ ethnocentric attitudes. Using the within-variation survey experiment, the extent of ethnocentrism is found by measuring the effect of responding to the phrase “illegal immigration,” as opposed to “immigrants.” The present study also measured Social Dominance Orientation attitudes in this survey, by asking a short, six-question assessment that will assess an individual’s ideology, which is divided into Group Based Dominance and Anti-Egalitarianism categories. Using this measure, conditional analysis was conducted to see whether the effect of “illegal immigration” on individuals’ support for immigration varies by their Social Dominance Orientation attitudes measures. To this end, an online survey was conducted to collect the data. The survey consisted of questions on Social Dominance Orientation (SDO), the experimental questions on “illegal” immigrants, and sociodemographic information on individual respondents. The data were collected using a convenient sampling among Winthrop University students. It is hypothesized that a respondent with a high-level SDO will tend to show more ethnocentric attitudes. In particular, It was hypothesized that the negative effect of “illegal immigrants” would be greater among individuals with high-level SDO compared to those with low-level SDO.

Poster Number: 073

What Immigration Means For U.S. Employment and Wages


Lilibeth Lopez

Faculty Mentor: Louis Pantuosco, Ph.D.

Immigration has a significant impact on U.S. economic growth. Immigrants account for 14.4% (over 44 million) of the U.S. population. Their success has an important impact on the U.S. economy. This paper will focus on the impact of immigration on employment and wages. The Center for Immigration Studies shows that immigration has impacts on wages and employment. The negative effect of immigration on wages is primarily confined to native workers in low-skilled occupations. Immigration lowers wages for those at the bottom of the economic scale. Factors such as technological change and globalization have also played a role in the deterioration in wages for lower-skilled workers. Lower wages increase unemployment, which leads to fewer natives wanting to accept lower wages. Even with lower wages, the introduction of immigrants in the labor force increases consumption, spending, and investing, which leads to an increase in GDP and economic growth. This paper will address the benefits and costs of immigration on the U.S. labor market.