Immigration Enforcement and Leader Image: President Trump and Support for ICE
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If a political leader were to speak on immigration enforcement policies, such as President Trump has, would Americans be in more or less favor of immigration enforcement policies? Immigration studies have shown that in-group populations, Americans in this context, perceive out-group populations, immigrants in this context, as threats to their homeland. More specifically, in-group populations can perceive out-group populations as threats to their physical security, culture, or their economic security. With these distinctions in mind, one may ask if Americans support immigration enforcement based on a perceived threat that they experience while thinking about immigrants coming to this country? Using 2019 experimental Cooperative Congressional Election Survey data, we will illustrate which perceived threats may be associated with President Trump’s leader image, and more generally, immigrants. How Americans perceive immigration enforcement policies may depend on how policymakers prime and frame issues related immigration and immigration enforcement. Along with explaining variation in attitudes toward immigration enforcement, this research examines support for President Trump and the abolishment of ICE.