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Why Does Equality Matter Anyway? How Indifference to Inequality Relates to U.S.-Born White, Latino, and Black Americans' Attitudes Toward Immigration Policy
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Master of Science (M.S.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Research on attitudes towards immigration policies typically considers the economic and cultural threats that compel many Americans to favor exclusionary policies that curb immigration. Less is understood about how indifference to inequality shapes Americans’ attitudes towards immigration policies—that is, how ‘not caring’ about the unequal conditions faced by immigrants likely has detrimental consequences for their safety and wellbeing. The present research examines indifference to inequality as a predictor for policies that impact opportunities for immigrants to come to the U.S., and who are otherwise undocumented and/or at great risk for exploitation. Using survey data from the American National Election Studies gathered in 2016 (Study 1; n = 3,187) and 2020 (Study 2; n = 6,941), we find that greater indifference to inequality is associated with less support for providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and greater support for building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, independently of other explanatory intergroup variables (e.g., prejudice, threat, and demographic characteristics). However, these associations tend to be moderated by ethnoracial background, such that although indifference to inequality predicts immigration policy attitudes among U.S.-born White Americans, it is not predictive of attitudes among U.S.-born Latino and Black Americans. Furthermore, these associations are not moderated by recent family history of immigration, suggesting that respondents’ group status in the U.S. ethnoracial hierarchy, and not the personal relevance of immigration, may well be driving these associations.
Linda R. Tropp
Dehrone, Trisha A., "Why Does Equality Matter Anyway? How Indifference to Inequality Relates to U.S.-Born White, Latino, and Black Americans' Attitudes Toward Immigration Policy" (2022). Masters Theses. 1179.