When Threat Mobilizes: Immigration Enforcement and Latino Voter Turnout
- 1.8k Downloads
Immigration enforcement, and deportation in particular, has been shown to have social and psychological effects on the non-deported as well, but its political effects have gone largely unexamined. I use the staggered implementation of Secure Communities, an information-sharing program between the federal government and local law enforcement, to estimate the short-term effects of stricter immigration enforcement on Latino voter turnout. A difference-in-differences analysis indicates that enrollment in Secure Communities led to an increase in county-level Latino voter turnout of 2–3 percentage points. This relatively large effect appears due to greater Latino activism in the wake of program implementation, rather than individuals responding to particular police interactions. These results extend the existing literature on mobilization in response to threat, demonstrate that policies can have far-reaching and unexpected political implications, and suggest that the current immigration debate may have major consequences for the future makeup of the American electorate.
KeywordsMobilization Threat Latino Turnout Immigration
I thank Asad Asad, Angie Bautista-Chavez, Peter Bucchianeri, Ryan Enos, Julie Faller, Bernard Fraga, Claudine Gay, Adam Glynn, Jennifer Hochschild, Dan Hopkins, Noah Nathan, Kay Schlozman, Rob Schub, and the participants of the Harvard Working Group in Political Psychology, the Harvard Inequality Proseminar, and the Harvard American Politics Research Workshop for helpful comments and thoughts. This research has been supported by a Harvard University Grant from the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy. Replication data for this paper will be posted no later than April 2016 at https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/arwhite.
- Barreto, M. A., & Woods, N. (2005). Latino voting in an anti-Latino context. In M. S. Gary & B. Shaun (Eds.), Diversity in democracy: Minority representation in the United States (pp. 148–169). Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.Google Scholar
- Bertrand, M., Esther, D., & Sendhil, M. (2004). How much should we trust differences-in-differences estimates? The Quarterly Journal of Economics (October).Google Scholar
- Capps, R. (2011). Delegation and divergence: A study of 287 (g) state and local immigration enforcement. Technical report Migration Policy Institute.Google Scholar
- Cronin, T. J., Levin, S., Branscombe, N. R., van Laar, C., & Tropp, L. R. (2012). Ethnic identification in response to perceived discrimination protects well-being and promotes activism: A longitudinal study of Latino college students. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 15(3), 393–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fraga, Bernard L. N. D. (Forthcoming). Candidates or districts? Reevaluating the role of race in voter turnout. American Journal of Political Science. http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/ajps.12172.
- Fraga, L. R., Hero, R. E., Garcia, J. A., Jones-Correa, M., Martinez-Ebers, V., & Segura, G. M. (2012). Latinos in the new Millennium: An almanac of opinion, behavior, and policy preferences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Frymer, P. (1999). Uneasy alliances. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Hall, A. B. (2013). Systemic effects of campaign spending. Working Paper. pp. 1–33.Google Scholar
- Hampton, W. (2012). Secure communities activated jurisdictions. Technical report. www.ice.gov/doclib/secure-communities/pdf/sc-activated.pdf.
- Klandermans, B. (1997). The social psychology of protest. London: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
- Kohli, A., Peter, L. M. & Lisa, C. (2011). Secure communities by the numbers: An analysis of demographics and due process. The Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, pp. 1–20. http://ranid.mc.yu.edu/uploadedFiles/Cardozo/Profiles/immigrationlaw-741/Warren Institute Secure. Communities by the Numbers.pdf.
- Lopez, M. H., Gonzalez-Barrera, A., & Motel, S. (2011). As deportations rise to record levels, most Latinos oppose Obama’s policy. http://www.pewhispanic.org/files/2011/12/Deportations-and-Latinos.pdf.
- Ordonez, F. (2011). ICE rolling out secure communities: New high-tech federal program will replace 287(g) that’s used to identify jailed illegal immigrants. http://docs.newsbank.com.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/openurl?ctx_ver=z39.88-2004&rft_id=info:sid/iw.newsbank.com:AWNB:CHOB&rft_val_format=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:ctx&rft_dat=127D2436257395E0&svc_dat=InfoWeb:aggregated5&req_dat=B425E5B32E784515BC5AAA87BC16A340
- Pérez, E. (2015a). Ricochet: How elite discourse politicizes racial and ethnic identities. Political Behavior, 37, 155–180.Google Scholar
- Pérez, E. (2015b). Xenophobic rhetoric and its political effects on immigrants and their co-ethnics. American Journal of Political Science, 59(3), 549–564.Google Scholar
- Ramakrishnan, S. K. (2005). Democracy in immigrant America: Changing demographics and political participation. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- US. Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General. (2012). 2011 yearbook of immigration statistics. Technical report US Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
- Waters, M. C., & Simes, J. T. (2013). The Politics of Immigration and Crime. Crime and Immigration: In The Oxford Handbook on Ethnicity.Google Scholar
- Weaver, V. M., & Amy, E. L. (2014). Arresting citizenship: The democratic consequences of American crime control. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Zepeda-Millan, C. (2014). Weapons of the (not so) weak: Immigrant mass mobilization in the US south. Critical Sociology.Google Scholar