Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 11-29-2023

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Ann Gordon


Immigrants, regardless of status, are portrayed as a threat to American society through the media. This paper will investigate Americans and their fear of non White immigrants and naturalized citizens through the theories of immigration threat, social identity theory, group cue, and the so-called freeloader problem. Due to the rise of xenophobic rhetoric being parroted by American politicians such as the Muslim ban enacted during the time of former President Trump’s presidency, the U.S. border control’s violence towards central American refugees, as well as undocumented laborers that Florida’s Governor DeSantis did not want working in his state anymore, leading to a large boycott. Using the Chapman Survey of American Fears data set published in 2018-2022, a representative national sample, I find that news outlets like Fox News elevate the fear of immigrants. They related in a way that fear will increase when the cultural politics of the country is positioned in a way where the American identity is being “stolen” or “taken over”. The scholarly contribution to this topic is the better understanding of how influential media as well as politicians and political ideology are to citizens, and how an emphasized American issue can instill fear in the minds of Americans.. I intend to understand the process of Americans who have been residing in the country for generations and how they hold themselves to carry out judgment towards those who are living in the country regardless of documentation status.


Presented at the Fall 2023 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.