Legal and Illegal Immigration Attitudes: An Examination of Contact Theory and Group Threat Theory
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This research involves a survey of students at a University in Southwest Texas to identify how contact theory and/or group threat theory explains the presence and/or lack thereof of restrictionist attitudes toward immigration in an academic setting. The focus is on students at a university recently granted Hispanic-serving status, which means at least 25% of the students are Hispanic. This recent change in the academic population is likely to lead to a change in the dynamics of whom students interact with—which is predicted to affect their attitudes towards immigration issues. The results of this study support contact theory by finding that white students who frequently interact with Hispanic students are more likely to have positive feelings toward Hispanics and less restrictionist views toward legal and illegal immigration issues. This study is limited by a short follow-up period and possible biases in the self-reported data.