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Immigrant Inclusion & Racial Justice

December 2009

By Roberto Suro, Professor at the Annenberg School of Communication of the University of Southern California

Please note: reports dated earlier than June 2020 were published under our previous names: the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) or the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII).

Over the past three decades the news media have largely mischaracterized the wave of immigration that has transformed the United States, emphasizing themes of illegality, crisis, controversy, and government failure. In Promoting Misconceptions: News Media Coverage of Immigration, Roberto Suro outlined the media’s coverage of immigration and how they frame the issue as a sudden crisis and focuses on the actions of immigrants, law enforcement officials, and policy makers.

This eclipses key contextual factors that powerfully influence both the size and content of immigration flows such as the labor market and the aging of the American work force. These tendencies in turn have created spaces for advocates who mobilize segments of the public in opposition to policy initiatives, sometimes exaggerating the narrative of immigration told by traditional news organizations.

By examining the pace of coverage and its primary focus from a variety of news organizations across periods of time, Suro suggested that the ways in which the media reports the news about immigration help to frame the crisis in the public mindset and therefore shape the debate. The result is widespread anxiety over illegal immigration and an exaggeration of attitudes at both ends of the political spectrum.

Read our other publications by research area

    Immigrant Integration & Racial Justice

    Our work on immigrant integration and racial justice brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research, data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time, and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public to advance immigrant integration and racial equity.

    Economic Inclusion & Climate Equity

    In the area of economic inclusion, we at ERI advance academic theory and practical applications linking economic growth, environmental quality, and civic health with bridging of racial and other gaps; produce accessible and actionable data and analysis through the data tools; and establish research partnerships to deepen and advance the dialogue, planning, and actions around racial equity, environmental justice, and the built environment.

    Social Movements & Governing Power

    ERI’s work in the area of governing power includes: conducting cross-disciplinary studies of today’s social movements, supporting learning and strategizing efforts to advance dialogues among organizers, funders, intermediaries, evaluators, and academics, and developing research-based social change frameworks and tools to inform—and be informed by—real-world, real-time efforts towards a vision of deep change.

    Publications Directory

    In 2020, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) merged to form the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI).

    The full list of publications published under our previous and current names can be found in our publications directory.

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