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Immigration in the 2000s POL 168: Latin@ Politics. Brad Jones Dept. of Political Science UC-Davis Historical Evolution of Border Crossing. Border crossing historically an issue And sometimes even a non-issue! Modern Era San Diego-Tijuana Sector

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Immigration in the 2000s pol 168 latin@ politics l.jpg

Immigration in the 2000sPOL 168: Latin@ Politics

Brad Jones

Dept. of Political Science


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Historical Evolution of Border Crossing

  • Border crossing historically an issue

    • And sometimes even a non-issue!

  • Modern Era

    • San Diego-Tijuana Sector

    • Operation Gatekeeper

    • Operation Hold-the-Line

    • NAFTA

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Border: 1990s

  • Political Backlash Against Immigrants: Almost all are Latino

    • High Profile Ballot Propositions Pass in California and Arizona in Mid 1990s, Early 2000s

      • Proposition 187: Assistance for Immigrants (California)

  • Immigration levels prompt Prop 187 in Ca.

    • Prop 187 ads from 1996 (grainy video)


    • Proposition 209: Affirmative Action (California)

    • Proposition 227: English-Only, Bilingual Education (California)

    • Proposition 203: English-Only, Bilingual Education (Arizona)

  • U.S. Border Patrol Changes Strategy in Mid-1990s

    • 1994’s “Operation Gatekeeper” is Initiated by INS/Border Patrol

    • Entry Shifts from Ports-of-Entry (i.e. San Diego) to the Desert

    • Border Patrol and the “OTM” category

    • Illegal immigration dominated by Latino Migration

    • “Catch and Release” Policy Creates Incentive for OTM Migration

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Border Patrol Agents

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Along the border, paramilitary operations flourish.

  • 1977: Klan Border Watch

  • Early 1980s: Aryan Nations

  • Late 1980s-Mid 1990s: DavidDuke/KKK

  • 1992: Voices of Citizens Together

  • 1996: U.S. Citizens Patrol

  • 1999: American Border Patrol

  • 2000: Ranch Rescue

  • 2003: Civil Homeland Defense

  • 2004: The Minutemen

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Anti-Immigration Group Websites

  • Gilchrest’s Minutemen Project


  • Minutemen Civil Defense Corps


  • American Border Patrol


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Anti-Immigration Rhetoric

  • Mainstream Press (Lou Dobbs, CNN)

  • Fringe Groups (Chris Simcox, Glenn Spencer)

  • Politicians (Tom Tancredo R-CO)

  • Many others…

  • And then immigration is propelled onto national scene.

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Sept. 11, 2001

  • Late 1990s, early 2000s, immigration and the border remain largely a regional issue

  • This all changes in one day: 9/11/01.

  • Focus turns immediately to the border

  • National security directly linked to immigration/border Issue

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The Link is Made Between the Border and Terror, Between Migrants and Terrorists

  • Department of Homeland Security Created in 2003

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mission Statement:

    “The U.S. Customs and Border Protection priority mission – keeping terrorists

    and terrorist weapons from entering the United States – places CBP on the frontline

    of the war on terrorism. As the nation’s unified border agency, CBP is strategically

    positioned at and between our ports of entry to prevent further terrorist attacks on our


  • 9/11 Commission Report Reinforces Terror Connection

  • Immigration and Nat. Security Activists Tie Border Legislation to Terror:

    “It is the purpose of 9/11 Families for a Secure America to make Americans and their elected

    representatives aware of the obvious truth stated by the 9/11 Commission and the equally obvious

    fact that the problems of open borders, illegal immigration and terrorism are inextricably linked.”

    (9/11 Families for a Secure America [])

  • All The While, Exposure to the Immigration/Border Increases

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Newspaper Coverage Migrants and Terrorists

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Newspaper Coverage Migrants and Terrorists


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Federal Legislation Migrants and Terrorists

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Border Patrol Recruitment Video Migrants and Terrorists

  • View and consider major themes and images:


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“OTM” Threat Linked To Al-Qaida Migrants and Terrorists

“Recent information from ongoing

investigations, detentions and emerging

threat streams strongly suggests that

al-Qaeda has considered using the

southwestern border to infiltrate the

United States." –Adm. James Loy,

Deputy H.S. Secretary

"The indication that al Qaeda operatives

are trying to penetrate our border through

Mexico clearly demonstrates that national

security is unavoidably linked to border

security.”—Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)

“We are concerned, Homeland Security is

concerned about special interest aliens entering

the United States.” --FBI Director Robert Mueller

Arizona is “terrorist alley.”—Col. Ben Anderson, U.S.

Army (Ret.)

"There are Middle Easterners coming across

the border as we speak.“—Former Border

Patrol Agent David Stoddard

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And Yet The Face of Immigration Remains the Same Migrants and Terrorists

  • Despite National Security

    Threat, Immigration has remained a Latino Issue

  • Latino Immigration is Peaking as

    9/11 Hits

  • The Focus on the Border resulted

    In greater exposure to Latino issues and images.

  • Almost all of the content conveys

    negative images of Latinos

  • All of this Playing Out on

    National Stage

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Backlash? Migrants and Terrorists

  • Immigration becomes among the dominant items on the political agenda 2005-2008

  • Rhetoric primarily “restrictionist” in tone.

  • Legislative proposals at all levels of government become widespread.

  • Bias incidents on the rise in the 2000s

    • Though they had similar peaks in the mid-1990s

  • FBI Hate Crime Data

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FBI Data and Bias Incidents Migrants and Terrorists

  • Peak similar to 1996 but what are the major differences?

  • What about perceptions of discrimination among Latinos?

  • Pew Data, 2004-2002

  • How much of a problem is discrimination? None, Some, Very Much

  • Bias incidents to you, family, or friends in the past 5 years?

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Bias and Discrimination Migrants and Terrorists

  • Trend is upward

  • Perceptions of and experience of bias incidents have significantly increased over time.

  • Consider and understand what the 2007 data underscores

  • Jones’ thesis: Many Americans view Latinos through “Huntington’s Lens”

  • Perception of Latinos as a cultural threat has largely been driven by the immigration issue.

  • Legislative Responsiveness has also been largely restrictionist.

  • ICE Raids and deportations underscores the politics of the 2000s

  • Some data

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Congressional Legislation Migrants and Terrorists

  • Ideology and Sponsorship/Co-sponsorship of Congressional Legislation

  • “The likelihood of supporting restrictionist legislation as a function of ideology and border status.”

  • Strong connection to ideology and the border.

  • However, by late 2000s, distribution of sponsorship was more diffuse.

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Ideology and Border Status: 1993-1996 Migrants and Terrorists

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Ideology and Border Status: 2001-2004 Migrants and Terrorists

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Ideology and Border Status: 2005-2008 Migrants and Terrorists

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Congressional Action Migrants and Terrorists

  • Previous Slides are preliminary

  • General Trends?

  • What about the current period?

  • From the perspective of Latinos, what might be going on?

  • Given strongest restrictionist rhetoric has been on the right, might we observe implications for parties?

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Partisan Implications Redux Migrants and Terrorists

  • Are there predictable patterns in partisan attitudes among Latinos?

  • Party Identification and Best Party Question

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Long Term Implications? Migrants and Terrorists

  • Not clear at this point but one can speculate.

  • Issue seems to have gone dormant…

  • But it will return.

  • Report on CNN (after 2008 Election)


  • O’Reilly (Nov. 2008)


      O’Reilly (2007)