Warmth of the Welcome: Attitudes toward Immigrants and Immigration Policy

Annu Rev Sociol. 2014 Jul;40:479-498. doi: 10.1146/annurev-soc-071913-043325. Epub 2014 Apr 14.


Natives' attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policy are important factors in the context of reception of immigrants since they contribute to a warm or chilly welcome, which potentially shapes immigrant and ethnic identities and inter-group relations. Public opinion polls show a recent "warming" of Americans' traditional ambivalence about immigration. Empirical research on attitudes toward immigrants and racial groups formed by recent waves of immigrants resonate with the dynamic nature of Blumer's (1958) theory of prejudice as a sense of relative group position. To better understand this dynamism, research that intentionally contrasts study sites on conflict and contact conditions and the presence of absence of symbolic politics, as well as research with different native-born racial and ethnic groups, would reveal a broader range of natives' attitude formation processes and the role they play in immigrant reception.

Keywords: contact theory; context of reception; group threat; prejudice; social identities; symbolic politics.