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September 16, 2020

Immigration and the American Ethos

An online talk by:
Dr. Matthew Wright
Assistant Professor, UBC Political Science

Wednesday, September 16, 2020
12:30 - 2:00 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time)

[ Abstract ]
What do Americans want from immigration policy and why? In the rise of a polarized and acrimonious immigration debate, leading accounts see racial anxieties and disputes over the meaning of American nationhood coming to a head. The resurgence of parochial identities has breathed new life into old worries about the vulnerability of the American Creed. In contrast, I argue that creedal values remain hard at work in shaping ordinary Americans' judgements about immigration. Indeed, perceptions of "civic fairness" - based on multiple, often competing values deeply rooted in the country's political culture - are the dominant guideposts by which most Americans navigate immigration controversies most of the time and explain why so many Americans simultaneously hold a mix of pro-immigrant and anti-immigrant positions.