Document Type


Publication Date


Subject: LCSH

Emigration and immigration--Political aspects, Emigration and immigration--Social aspects, United States--Emigration and immigration--Government policy


Political Science


For the last decade, undocumented or illegal immigration has been one of the most contested policy issues in the United States, with significant news attention on policies affecting the undocumented population, ranging from deportations to comprehensive immigration reform, the DREAM Act, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Despite these prominent and multifaceted policy debates, scholarship on media framing and public opinion remain more focused on the portrayal of immigrants rather than policies affecting them. In general, we find that policy frames are far more consequential to public opinion than equivalency frames (variations in how news media describe unauthorized immigrants, either as "illegal" or "undocumented") or episodic frames (whether news articles are heavy on human-interest stories rather than policy facts and statistics). In addition, negative frames generally have stronger effects than positive frames, and these effects sometimes vary by partisanship and family migration history. Finally, the relative infrequency of powerful frames in news stories, like time spent living in the United States, provides opportunities for advocates to move public opinion on immigration policy. These findings have important implications for future battles over immigration policy in the United States, which show no signs of abating.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Alamillo, R., Haynes, C., & Madrid Jr, R. (2019). Framing and immigration through the trump era. Sociology Compass, e12676, which has been published in final form at . This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.



Publisher Citation

Alamillo, R., Haynes, C., & Madrid Jr, R. (2019). Framing and immigration through the trump era. Sociology Compass, e12676.

Available for download on Saturday, March 20, 2021