What Immigration Issues Do Americans Hold Sacred?

Our attitudes about immigrants are wrapped up not only with our personal characteristics, life experiences, and beliefs about a wide range of other issues, they are also integrally shaped by our social identities. For instance, we are galvanized when a social group that we feel a part of is under threat. Amidst today’s toxic polarization, for example, both liberals and conservatives feel threatened by the other. We are also influenced by the emotions and stances our social groups have or take towards an issue (group norms). People often think and act in accordance with perceived group norms rather than rely on their own individual attitudes or beliefs. Lastly, both threat and the influence that group norms have on us feel even more powerful when our group affiliations overlap (e.g., say one is white, evangelical, and conservative, and that each of those groups shares the same life situations, threat perceptions and policy stances).

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