Dr. Chris Haynes

“How the Media Frames Undocumented Immigration and Its Effect on Public Opinion”
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 2:00 pm Marvin K. Peterson Library, Upper Level


The past decade, in particular, has seen a raft of legislative proposals and news media coverage of ways to solve the growing problem of illegal or undocumented immigrants living in the United States. While policy debates over illegal immigration has taken on several new and interesting dimensions since 2000, much public opinion research still analyzes American views on immigration policy in a fairly blunt manner: as the extent to which immigration is an important issue to voters, and whether Americans want to increase, decrease, or maintain the current levels of immigration into the country. Moreover, scholars have yet to systematically examine the media’s post-21stcentury coverage of undocumented immigration.

In this book, we content analyze how the issue of illegal immigration has been covered in a range of conservative and mainstream news media outlets since 2001, paying particular attention to the ways that both immigrants are framed (“illegal,” “undocumented,” etc.) as well as the ways that immigration policies are framed (“path to citizenship,” “amnesty,” “anchor babies,” etc.). Then using a series of survey experiments over seven years, we test whether these various frames affect voter support for a host of immigration-related policies: path to citizenship, the DREAM act, and deportation. By analyzing the framing of illegal immigration as a policy issue, both in the context of news media coverage and in the context of survey experiments on the consequences of frames on opinion, this project has important implications for understanding how attitudes toward immigration policy are formed and can shift over time in response to the information environment, which has become more diverse since the last major immigration reform in 1986.

Biographical Information

Dr. Chris Haynes is the Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Political Science at University of New Haven. Chris’ research and practical experience is in the area of the media's framing of immigration and its effect on public opinion. He has published a number of works on this topic in Perspectives on Politics, two edited volumes, and in his forthcoming book, Framing Immigration: News Coverage and Public Opinion in the United States.

Previously, he served as a fellow for the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California-San Diego and was recognized as University of New Haven's 2015 recipient for Outstanding Work in Experiential Education. Chris is currently working on a number of projects that focus on framing effects on public opinion on immigration and healthcare, the effect of candidate ambiguity on electoral success, the effect of Japanese American internment on partisanship, and the effect of ethnic media consumption on political knowledge.


Dr. Chris Haynes web page

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