Manuscripts In-Preparation

Valenzuela, Ali A. “‘He’s Talking about Us (Them)’: Latino (and White) Reactions to Implicit and Explicit Anti-Latino Immigration Appeals.”

Prior studies investigating the political consequences of racialized campaign appeals have usually focused on the effects of implicit and explicit anti-black messages among racially resentful whites, with considerably less work examining their effects among targeted group members (i.e., African Americans). More recently, research has examined the implicit-explicit (IE) dynamics of anti-Latino immigration messages among whites, but scholars have yet to extend the IE framework to Latinos, despite their growing political influence and salience as the frequent target of these attacks. In this paper, we report results from two experiments that build on prior IE research, finding Latinos consistently reject a candidate using anti-Latino immigration appeals, whether implicit or explicit, and more often reject him when his appeals are made explicit. We further test whether egalitarianism or ethno-racial group identity is primed by anti-Latino messages, and find both Latinos’ and whites’ egalitarian commitments are primed when exposed to an explicit anti-Latino appeal (relative to a non-racial control), but only Latinos’ egalitarian views are primed when exposed to an otherwise-identical implicit anti-Latino appeal, which they are more likely to describe as racist or racially biased than whites.

Valenzuela, Ali A., Omar Wasow and Krista Perriera. “Election Effects, Perceptions of Immigration Context and Self-Reported General and Mental Health among Latinos and Whites in the United States.”

Can a hostile political climate influence self-reported health? A growing body of work suggests that perceptions of an unwelcoming environment for immigrants is associated with negative health outcomes, such as increased anxiety and premature births, for Latinos in the United States. Prior studies, however, have generally only shown correlations between a possible “Trump effect” and worsening health measures among Latinos. Using a two-wave panel survey design in which data on Latinos and Whites were collected before and after the 2018 election, we more plausibly identify a negative causal effect of perceived anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies on self-reported health for Latinos (but not Whites). Specifically, we find that for Latino subjects, the joint effect of moving from the pre- to the post-election period and from perceiving one’s state environment to be less welcoming to immigrants is associated with a significant increase in self-reported fair or poor health (OR: 1.32; CI: 1.04, 1.67) and ever feeling depressed or hopeless in the prior two weeks (OR: 1.29; CI: 1.11, 1.50). For White subjects, the effect of perceiving a less welcoming environment for immigrants interacting with a salient election does not have a statistically significant effect on self-reported health (OR: 1.48; CI: 0.95, 2.31) and, in contrast to Latinos, is associated with a significant decrease in the likelihood of ever being depressed in the prior two weeks (OR: 0.62; CI: 0.50, 0.78). In sum, this evidence strongly suggests that anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies made salient by election campaigns do exert a substantial toll on the health of Latinos, but do not exhibit similar dynamics for Whites.

Valentino, Nicholas, Ali A. Valenzuela and Omar Wasow. “Rousing the Sleeping Giant: A Theory of Emotional Counter-Mobilization in an Anti-Immigrant Era.”

The escalation of hard line anti-immigration policies represents one of the central planks of the Trump Administration since his election. Since economists and public policy experts from across the political spectrum have openly criticized many of these policies as wasteful and ineffective, most observers suspect they are designed mostly to appeal to and mobilize his core supporters who hold very negative views of immigrants. Little attention, however, has been paid to the political effects of these policies on those he is targeting, and those who identify with those targeted communities. A key case, and one which we study in this paper, is the impact of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids on Latino citizens, who may ethnically identify with many of the immigrants being targeted. We suspect these ICE raids may cause powerful emotional reactions among the Latino citizens in the areas most affected. Depending on which emotions are experienced, we would then predict the raids to have substantial effects on electoral participation among Latinos in those communities. Using a nationally representative sample of Latino and White registered voters just before the 2018 midterm elections, we test this basic conjecture. We find that, indeed Latinos who claimed to have had contact with ICE officers had experienced powerful emotions, with anxiety outstripping anger as the most common. This anxiety, it appears from our voter validation data, may be responsible for demobilizing Latino citizens, consistent with theories of emotion in politics. Self-reported ICE interaction had no effect on the turnout of White respondents. Finally, exposure to hostile, anti-immigrant rhetoric in the form of political advertisements was much more likely to trigger anger among Latinos, and that anger was powerfully mobilizing. This general pattern of results suggests that different types of threats, even toward the same group, can trigger very different emotional reactions, with quite different downstream consequences for political participation.

Ana L. Oaxaca, Angela X. Ocampo and Ali A. Valenzuela. “Local Immigration Context, Perceptions of Inclusion and Political Engagement.”

An extensive body of literature has examined the role of state and national immigration contexts on public opinion and political behavior among immigrants and non-immigrants alike. Despite the fact that immigration enforcement occurs at the local level, through cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents, as well as through the targeting of small geographic areas in enforcement and removal operations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), little is known about how immigrants experience their immediate immigration context. In this paper, we address this gap by paying particular attention to local immigration contexts. Using an original national survey of Latinos and whites conducted during the 2018 midterm election, we examine how welcoming or hostile first- and second-generation Latino immigrants perceive their state and local contexts to be. Relying on pre- and post-election interviews of the same subjects, we examine any changes in individual perceptions of inclusion or hostility towards immigrants. We also merge this survey with municipal-level data collected by the authors to measure how positive or negative the state and local communities are as a function of actions towards immigration taken by the state and local governments. We rely on both perceived and actual measures of local immigration context to examine the extent to which first and generation Latinos feel welcomed or excluded in their state and locality, and subsequently how these perceptions influence political participation. We expect that Latinos' immediate context will influence their perceptions of inclusion, and that these perceptions will also shape the extent to which they engage in politics.

Valenzuela, Ali A., Kassra Oskooii and Loren Collingwood. “Threat or Reassurance? How Framing the 2018 Midterm Results as a Win for Democrats or Republicans Affects Emotional and Psychological Responses among Latinos and Whites.” In preparation for the 2019 American Political Science Association annual meeting.

Election outcomes are often framed and interpreted in different ways depending on one's information environment. In this paper, we investigate the effects of framing of the 2018 midterm results as a win for Democrats (in the House), or for Republicans (in the Senate), using an embedded survey experiment conducted twice—in December 2018 and again in July 2019—on national samples of Latino and white registered voters. We test how these contrasting frames affect perceptions of threat or reassurance, emotional and psychological distress, intentions to participate in 2020, and perceptions of the impact on President Trump’s immigration agenda and life for Latinos in the United States. Results show Latinos randomized to the Democratic House win frame report lower levels of threat and psychological distress, and a more positive outlook on life for Latinos in the U.S. Conversely, Latinos exposed to the Republican Senate win frame report higher levels of threat and psychological distress, and a more pessimistic outlook about life for Latinos in the U.S. Whites are also more likely to believe life for Latinos in the U.S. will improve under House Democratic control, and worsen under Senate Republican control. These results provide causal evidence of electoral effects on the psychological and life outcomes of a salient identity group frequently targeted by both Democratic and Republican campaigns.