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Americans’ Socioeconomic Status Affects Opinions of Immigrants

Immigration ranks fairly low among social concerns for most Americans, according to the December 2000 issue of American Demographics.

“The public, in general, seems to be more concerned about illegal immigrants than legal ones; Americans hold both positive and negative attitudes about immigration,” read the article.
Both United States-born and foreign-born American citizens said most immigrants “intend to become loyal citizens,” according to a 1998 Public Agenda survey cited by the article.
Both groups describe “bad citizens” as people who live on welfare though capable of work, people who are prejudiced and people who do not want to learn English.
Lower-income and less educated individuals are more likely to say immigrants are a burden to the country than higher-income and more educated individuals, according to the article.
“Those with a lower income and less education generally feel more insecure economically and thus, may feel more threatened by job competition with immigrants,” read the article.
While 21 percent of those making more than $75,000 per year said immigrants are a burden to the country, 46 percent of those making less than $20,000 responded negatively about immigration.
Sarah Griffith is BCE’s communications coordinator.