The attention paid to immigration since September 11th has become more pronounced. We maintain that the increases in attention are due to a significant critical juncture: the Republican Party Platform of 2004 and President Bush’s subsequent reelection. The rhetoric has become more negative and exclusive, creating a pervasive immigrant narrative. What are the ramifications, if any, of this shift in discourse from such central political figures for immigrants? Attempts to change immigration policy, despite the rhetoric, have not materialized nationally. President Bush recognized the limitations of ‘going public’ and, instead, took his immigration policy proposals to state legislatures, wherein ideological preferences are more closely aligned, despite differences in party. We have contributed to the discussion by examining the effects of negative rhetoric on the political landscape at the state level during the G.W. Bush Administration. We question whether negative immigration narratives in presidential rhetoric shape policies relating to immigration at the state level? We provide results that suggest presidential rhetoric can increase negative-effects legislation in states, limiting immigrant participation in civic life.
Arthur, C. Damien and Joshua Woods. President Bush and Immigration Policy Rhetoric: The Effects of Negativity on the Political Landscape at the State Level. White House Studies. 14, no. 1 (2017).