Public Attitudes Toward Immigration in the United States and Canada in Response to the September 11, 2001 “Attack on America”



In this paper, we describe recent trends in attitudes toward immigration in North America, and we suggest how these attitudes are likely to be affected by the September 11, 2001 “Attack on America.” We begin by explaining why public attitudes toward immigration are important, and describe recent trends in these attitudes in the United States and Canada. Then, we apply psychological perspectives to predicting how these attitudes are likely to change in response to the events of September 11th. In particular, we describe expected short-term changes in immigration attitudes and expected long-term trends. We conclude by suggesting that an understanding of the psychological processes underlying unfavorable attitudes may assist in counteracting these effects; we also suggest that policy makers will be faced with the difficult task of balancing the need for a sense of security for members of the national group, and maintenance of the positive features of current immigration policies.