Divided Loyalties? Understanding Variation in Latinos' Attitudes Toward Immigration

Rouse, Stella M., Betina Cutaia Wilkinson, and James C. Garand. 2010. "Divided Loyalties? Understanding Variation in Latinos' Attitudes Toward Immigration." Social Science Quarterly 91 (3): 856-882.

32 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2014

See all articles by Stella M. Rouse

Stella M. Rouse

University of Maryland, Department of Government and Politics

Betina Wilkinson

Wake Forest University

James C. Garand

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

Date Written: August 2010

Abstract

Objective: In this article, we develop and test a model of competing theoretical explanations of Latinos’ attitudes toward immigration; specifically examining their policy preferences on legal immigration, illegal immigration, and a proposed policy for dealing with illegal immigrants. We also consider whether Latino attitudes toward legal and illegal immigration are related and comprise a single coherent structure. Method: Using data from a 2004 national survey of Latinos, we perform logit, ordered logit, and factor analysis to examine the determinants of Latinos’ attitudes toward immigration. Results: We highlight three important findings. First, our results demonstrate “within group” differences in immigration attitudes among Latinos, based on both national origin and generational status; we find that Mexicans are more pro-immigration than Latinos from other countries, and, foreign-born Latinos have much more positive attitudes about immigration than second-generation and third-generation Latinos. Second, we find that Latino support for various aspects of immigration is primarily a function of ethnic and linguistic identity and attachment to the American culture, with self interest, contextual variables, and political and demographic attributes playing a smaller, more specialized role. Finally, we demonstrate that Latino attitudes toward legal and illegal immigration are highly related. Conclusion: There is a coherent structure underlying Latinos’ attitudes toward legal immigration, illegal immigration, and a policy option for dealing with illegal immigrants. Our tests of competing theoretical approaches reveal the importance of national origin and ethnic attachment and acculturation in explaining differences among Latinos on their attitudes toward immigration.

Keywords: Latinos, immigration, immigration policy, attitudes

Suggested Citation

Rouse, Stella M. and Wilkinson, Betina and Garand, James C., Divided Loyalties? Understanding Variation in Latinos' Attitudes Toward Immigration (August 2010). Rouse, Stella M., Betina Cutaia Wilkinson, and James C. Garand. 2010. "Divided Loyalties? Understanding Variation in Latinos' Attitudes Toward Immigration." Social Science Quarterly 91 (3): 856-882., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2397527

Stella M. Rouse

University of Maryland, Department of Government and Politics ( email )

3140 Tydings Hall
College Park, MD 20742
United States

Betina Wilkinson

Wake Forest University ( email )

James C. Garand (Contact Author)

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge ( email )

Baton Rouge, LA 70803
United States

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