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The Divide & Conquer Election of 2012


Edited By Dianne G. Bystrom, Mary C. Banwart and Mitchell S. McKinney

alieNATION presents research conducted by a national election team and leading scholars in political communication that explores a range of important topics and variables affecting voter attitudes and behavior in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.
In exploring the messages, issues, and voters of the 2012 election, these studies employ multiple methods including experimental design, content analysis, rhetorical criticism, and survey research. Whereas other election research tends to investigate either the content or effects of campaign communication, the more comprehensive and systematic nature of this collection enables alieNATION to cohere thematically around considerations of voter alienation, political engagement, political efficacy, and ultimately, citizens’ voting decisions.
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Chapter Nine: Are Latinos Citizens? Labels, Race, and Politics in News Coverage of Immigration Reform


← 157 | 158 → CHAPTER NINE


On April 23, 2010, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 (“Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act”) into law. This piece of legislation, which was modified a week later (by Arizona House Bill 2162), represented the “broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration measure in the United States in decades” (Archibold, 2010, p. A1). The law was written to require: illegal aliens to register with the U.S. government and to carry registration documents at all times; law enforcement officials to enforce strict immigration laws; and citizens of Arizona to curb practices of sheltering, hiring, and transporting illegal aliens.

Early reactions to the legislation were mixed. On one hand, it was applauded for taking the issue of immigration seriously—there had been more illegal crossings of the United States–Mexico border in Arizona than in any other state—(Spagat, 2010), supported in national opinion polls by 50% to 70% of American citizens (Wood, 2010), and praised by some Republican figures who questioned the lack of national attention to immigration (although it was also questioned by some Republican leaders for alienating Latino citizens). On the other hand, it was critiqued for encouraging racial profiling (Cooper, 2010); protested by tens of thousands of individuals in cities such as Phoenix, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Chicago (Thompson, 2010); opposed by up to 70% of Latinos in polls of that ethnic group (Holub, 2010); and lambasted by U.S....

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