Research Project

Given the recent increase in nativist sentiment and white supremacist violence, particularly during the rise of former President Donald Trump, this research sought to explore this trend by looking at the US during a period of similarly high migration. Specifically, this research sought to explore how non-white immigrants are discursively framed in U.S. news articles during periods of high migration. Further, we wanted to explore what impact these news discourses on immigrants had on members of these groups. In order to do this, I took a case study approach, and examined the discussion regarding the recent Central American migrant surge of 2018-2019 in comparison to the Italian immigration surge of the first decade of the 20th century, particularly from 1900 - 1907, before the creation of the Dillingham commission. In order to do so, I used qualitative coding and critical discourse analysis to examine numerous newspaper articles from a variety of local and national papers. I found that during periods with high levels of migration both during the early 20th century and the migration surge of the late 2010s, local and regional newspapers often used similarly charged language in the nativist tradition towards these immigration surges. The relationship between the language used in newspapers and instances of immigration violence towards these groups was more difficult to parse out and requires more exploration.