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Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. RECENT GUEST WORKER POLICY PROPOSALS
  4. PUBLIC OPINION ON TEMPORARY WORKER POLICIES
  5. EXPECTATIONS ABOUT ATTITUDES TOWARD GUEST WORKER POLICIES
  6. DATA AND METHODOLOGY
  7. RESULTS
  8. DISCUSSION
  9. APPENDIX A
  10. APPENDIX B
  11. APPENDIX C: Variable Definitions
  12. REFERENCES

In this study we use data from a 2004 New York Times/CBS News national survey to analyze public opinion toward a guest worker program and to compare predictors of support for guest worker and general immigration policies. In general, Americans tend to be divided in their attitudes toward a guest worker program, although support for temporary worker policies is stronger when legalization for unauthorized immigrants is conditioned on certain requirements, and when the program is coupled with enhanced border security. The results of the bivariate probit analysis indicate that individuals who favor reducing the immigration level also tend to oppose instituting a guest worker program. Perceptions of the “costs” of immigration emerged as the most important determinant of individuals’ attitudes toward immigration policies; such beliefs contributed to opposition to a guest worker policy and support for reducing the immigration level. We also found that residents of high-immigration states and Latinos were more likely to support a temporary worker program. However, these characteristics do not appear to influence individuals’ judgments about the number of immigrants who should be admitted to the United States. Findings regarding the impact of political partisanship and ideology on attitudes toward the two policies were more ambiguous.

There are an estimated twelve million foreign-born residents living in the United States who have either entered the country without border inspection or overstayed their visas (Passel, 2006). These individuals, variously called “undocumented,”“unauthorized,” or “illegal” immigrants, constitute over one-tenth of the U.S. labor force in sectors such as agriculture, construction, maintenance, and food services (Pew Hispanic Center, 2006); however, their lack of legal status precludes their full integration into American society.

Policy options to address unauthorized immigration include generalized amnesty, deportation, enhanced border security, and a temporary worker program. The latter policy alternative was put forth by President Bush in a major policy address to the nation in January 2004, in which he proposed a guest worker program that would accord temporary legal status to large numbers of unauthorized residents working in the United States. As of this writing the U.S. Congress has suspended debate on comprehensive immigration reform measures that would include provisions for guest workers.

As the U.S. government considers reviving a guest worker program, much attention has been devoted to congressional and public levels of support for or opposition to a policy legitimizing the status of unauthorized immigrants. However, little is known about the factors shaping public opinions of temporary worker policies. The purpose of this study is to identify the determinants of public opinion toward a guest worker program using data from a January 2004 New York Times/CBS national survey. We use bivariate probit analysis to test whether the variables that predict support for restrictive immigration policies are the same as those that determine opposition to temporary worker programs. In particular, we test the extent to which perceived costs of immigration, political partisanship and ideology, and various other variables are strong and significant predictors of attitudes toward both policies.

Public opinions toward temporary worker initiatives and other policies to address unauthorized immigration are important because they may portend the future of millions of individuals who currently are living in legal limbo – ineligible for many forms of credit, education, healthcare, and civic engagement. Furthermore, negative attitudes toward individuals who do not have legal status in the United States have led to widespread resentment and discrimination.

RECENT GUEST WORKER POLICY PROPOSALS

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. RECENT GUEST WORKER POLICY PROPOSALS
  4. PUBLIC OPINION ON TEMPORARY WORKER POLICIES
  5. EXPECTATIONS ABOUT ATTITUDES TOWARD GUEST WORKER POLICIES
  6. DATA AND METHODOLOGY
  7. RESULTS
  8. DISCUSSION
  9. APPENDIX A
  10. APPENDIX B
  11. APPENDIX C: Variable Definitions
  12. REFERENCES

While unauthorized immigration always has been a contentious issue in the United States, it has garnered increased national attention and debate following President George W. Bush's proposal for immigration reform. In January 2004, the president renewed his calls for a guest worker program that would allow unauthorized immigrants already working in U.S. sectors such as agriculture, construction, and services to earn legal status as temporary workers (Jachimowicz, 2004). Under the Bush proposal, unauthorized immigrants residing in the United States would be required to pay a fee and to document their employment to apply for legal status. Workers who entered the United States illegally after the program's establishment would be excluded from participation. Eligible workers would be granted a temporary, renewable visa and would be permitted to travel freely to their home countries. The president's initial proposal offered monetary incentives for workers to return to their home countries, where they would have access to tax-preferred savings accounts and Social Security benefits (Turner and Rosenblum, 2005).1

Political reactions to the president's 2004 proposal were mixed. Most members of Congress agree with the president that the current U.S. immigration policy needs reform, given the growth of the unauthorized immigrant population since the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which was the last major comprehensive revision to U.S. immigration policies. However, there is no consensus among lawmakers on how immigration reform should take place (Jachimowicz, 2004).

The Bush administration's immigration reform proposal stimulated a spate of proposals in Congress to institute a temporary worker program and to enhance border security and law enforcement. Lawmakers have successfully passed measures addressing the latter two issues, but the issue of dealing with the large unauthorized immigration population in the United States remains unresolved. A bipartisan Senate bill that would have instituted a temporary worker program, enhanced border security, and provided a pathway for legalization of currently unauthorized immigrants failed to pass a critical test vote. As a consequence, unauthorized immigration continues to be a contentious issue, and one that has factored heavily in the 2008 presidential election campaigns.

There are a number of criticisms of proposals for a guest worker policy. Many congresspersons are skeptical about whether an already overburdened immigration system could process millions of guest worker applications efficiently and properly. Some conservative lawmakers believe that Bush's program is nothing short of “amnesty.” Given the “permanency” of foreign-born populations under past guest worker programs in the US, others have voiced concerns about whether a new temporary worker policy would be truly temporary.

Guest worker policies have been criticized by some liberal lawmakers for not providing enough incentives for currently unauthorized immigrants to participate, and for ignoring the need for a path to legalization. Immigrant advocates also have voiced concerns that the fines and penalty fees that immigrants would have to pay in order to apply for legalization are too high for working-class families, and that a guest worker program might lead to a repetition of the human rights abuses associated with the historical Bracero programs (Jachimowicz, 2004).

PUBLIC OPINION ON TEMPORARY WORKER POLICIES

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. RECENT GUEST WORKER POLICY PROPOSALS
  4. PUBLIC OPINION ON TEMPORARY WORKER POLICIES
  5. EXPECTATIONS ABOUT ATTITUDES TOWARD GUEST WORKER POLICIES
  6. DATA AND METHODOLOGY
  7. RESULTS
  8. DISCUSSION
  9. APPENDIX A
  10. APPENDIX B
  11. APPENDIX C: Variable Definitions
  12. REFERENCES

As immigration reform has risen on the political agenda, researchers and political groups have added questions on this topic to countless polls (see Appendix A for a summary of some of the most important). From these surveys one can see that a substantial proportion of Americans consider immigration to be a problem – particularly if the questions refer to unauthorized, or “illegal” immigrants. Sixty percent of American adults believe that “illegal” immigration is a bigger problem than legal immigration (Pew Research Center/Pew Hispanic Center, 2006), and a similar percentage believe that it is a “very serious issue” for the country (New York Times/CBS News poll, 2006).

In the days and months following President Bush's call for a guest worker policy in January 2004, Americans were split in their attitudes toward temporary worker initiatives. Close to half supported the creation of a guest worker program for current illegal immigrants in 2004 surveys sponsored by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations (52%) and by NPR/Kaiser/Harvard (44%). Since 2004, public opinion polls have reflected similar divisions in attitudes toward unauthorized immigrants and public support for temporary worker initiatives. For example, an AP/Ipsos Public Affairs poll from March 2006 found that 56% of Americans favor allowing currently unauthorized individuals working in the United States to apply for legal, temporary worker status. A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll from June 2007 found that 49% of adults supported a guest worker program for “non-citizens” working in the US, while an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted around the same time (June 2007) indicated slightly less support for a more specific proposal, with 31% endorsing “automatic work visas” for current illegal immigrants who pay a $5,000 fine.

Support for temporary worker policy initiatives is particularly strong when legalization of foreign workers is coupled with increased border protection (Los Angeles Time/Bloomberg, 2006). A survey conducted by the Tarrance Group/Manhattan Institute (a national Republican polling firm) also found widespread support among likely Republican voters (72%) for a comprehensive immigration reform plan that would include a temporary worker program, earned legalization, and enhanced border security (2005).

Although many Americans have somewhat favorable attitudes toward temporary worker programs, there is greater disagreement over how to address the unauthorized immigration problem. In the Pew Research Center/Pew Hispanic Center survey (2006), respondents were almost evenly divided in their support for three different policy options when given an explicitly comparative choice between them: to allow current unauthorized immigrants to remain in the US permanently (32%); to allow them to stay in this country under a guest worker program (32%); or to send them back to their home countries (27%). However, in another survey, regardless of party affiliation, a majority of Americans (61%) favored temporary worker and legalization policies over deportation as a means of reducing unauthorized immigration (Washington Post/ABC News, 2005). A more recent USA Today/Gallup poll (July 2007) revealed a similar preference for temporary worker and legalization policies in a comparative question (see Appendix A for details).

EXPECTATIONS ABOUT ATTITUDES TOWARD GUEST WORKER POLICIES

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. RECENT GUEST WORKER POLICY PROPOSALS
  4. PUBLIC OPINION ON TEMPORARY WORKER POLICIES
  5. EXPECTATIONS ABOUT ATTITUDES TOWARD GUEST WORKER POLICIES
  6. DATA AND METHODOLOGY
  7. RESULTS
  8. DISCUSSION
  9. APPENDIX A
  10. APPENDIX B
  11. APPENDIX C: Variable Definitions
  12. REFERENCES

There is a substantial body of research on Americans’levels of support and determinants of support for policies addressing immigration. In contrast, relatively little is known about the factors that predict public opinion regarding guest worker policies. This study seeks to fill that gap by analyzing the similarities and differences between the determinants of attitudes toward a guest worker policy and the antecedents of general immigration attitudes.

We do not expect that the individual-level determinants of restrictive immigration and guest worker policies will be identical, because the policies tend to deal with different segments of the population. Questions on policies about immigration levels frequently refer to levels of authorized (or “legal”) immigration, while questions on temporary worker program address unauthorized (so-called illegal) immigration. As noted earlier, while Americans support reducing immigration overall, they have a more favorable view of “legal” than “illegal” immigration.2

Attitudes toward the two policies also may be dissimilar because of their varying levels of specificity. Notions about whether immigration levels should be restricted are much less specific than opinions regarding a temporary worker program, and they may elicit different responses. Espenshade and Calhoun (1993) note that Americans may have negative attitudes about immigration as a general phenomenon, but sympathy toward the immigrants whom they know personally. This may produce a tension between “hostility toward groups and humanitarian impulses toward individuals.”3 In the following section, we summarize literature on possible predictors of public opinion on both general immigration policies and guest worker programs.

Perceived Costs of Immigration

Much of the public policy debate on immigration revolves around Americans’ perceptions of the “costs” imposed by immigrants on the United States. In the NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard 2004 survey, a majority of native- born Americans believed that “illegal” immigration has hurt the U.S. economy (59%) instead of helping it (14%). Although more recent public opinion polls reflect more positive attitudes toward immigration,4 perceptions of the cost of immigration continue to be a divisive issue. One-third of respondents to a national poll in 2006 said that their biggest reservation about “illegal” immigrants is that “they use more in public services than they pay in taxes” (ABC News/Washington Post, April 2006). A third also believed that “illegal” immigrants take jobs away from Americans (AP/Ipsos Public Affairs, 2006).5

A number of academic studies support the theory that economic threats, whether actual or perceived, are associated with opposition to immigration and are related to notions of competition between natives and immigrants for scarce resources (Citrin et al., 1997; Fennelly and Federico, 2008). Using data from the 1994 General Social Survey, Wilson (2001) found that perceptions that immigrants inhibit U.S. employment and economic growth were associated with opposition to policies benefiting unauthorized immigrants and support for reducing the general immigration level.6 Fetzer (2000) also concluded that Americans who feel that immigrants are a threat to employment are more likely to support restricting immigration levels. Based on prior studies, we expect that negative perceptions of the cost of immigration will be associated with opposition to a guest worker program and support for restrictive immigration policies.

Partisanship and Political Ideology

Studies by Hood and Morris (1997) and Chandler and Tsai (2001) demonstrate that long-standing political orientations, such as partisanship (Republican, Democrat, Independent) and political ideology (conservative, liberal, moderate) influence individuals’ attitudes toward public policy issues. In previous research, Republicans have been shown to be more likely to support restrictive immigration policies than Democrats and Independents. Recent polling also suggests that more Democrats (75%) favor temporary worker initiatives than do Republicans (66%) (TIME Magazine/SRBI, 2006). However, once political ideology is taken into account, several studies find that political party affiliation is no longer a good predictor of attitudes toward immigration policy (Citrin et al., 1997; Wilson, 2001; Chandler and Tsai, 2001). In these studies, it is conservative ideology, rather than party affiliation, that determines these attitudes. The fact that more Republicans than Democrats define themselves as conservatives explains the apparent association between party affiliation and support for restrictive policies (Fennelly and Federico, 2008).

While there is a high correlation between self-designated conservative or liberal political views and acceptance or rejection of restrictionist immigration policies, the relationship between political ideology and opinions regarding guest worker policies is more complex. In a March 2006 Pew Research Center/Pew Hispanic Center study, 46% of conservative Republicans preferred a temporary worker plan over options allowing unauthorized immigrants to stay in the United States permanently or to deport them. A slightly higher percentage of liberal Democrats (49%) strongly favored allowing unauthorized immigrants to reside in the United States permanently, but support for the three policies was more evenly divided among liberal/moderate Republicans and conservative/moderate Democrats.

The diversity in opinions suggests that there is not a uniform “liberal” or “conservative” policy on immigration. A guest worker policy may draw support from some conservative Republicans due to their concern for business interests, but elicit opposition from others because of “amnesty” concerns. Similarly, some liberal Democrats may support guest worker programs as a means of admitting more immigrants to the US, while others might reject guest worker programs or express only modest support because of their potential for worker exploitation.

Given the ambiguity of the relationship between political ideology and attitudes toward guest worker programs, we predict that neither party affiliation nor political ideology will be significant predictors of support for guest worker policies.

Demographic Characteristics

Other variables shown to influence attitudes toward immigration policy include demographic characteristics, such as age (Espenshade and Calhoun, 1993; Citrin et al., 1997; Chandler and Tsai, 2001; Scheve and Slaughter, 2001); gender (Citrin et al., 1990; Espenshade and Hempstead, 1996; Hood et al., 1997; Burns and Gimpel, 2000; Sidanius et al., 2001); income (Fetzer, 2000); education (Espenshade and Hempstead, 1996); and race and ethnicity (Citrin et al., 1997; Hood et al., 1997). Because age tends to be positively associated with political conservatism, we expect older individuals to be more opposed to immigration and a guest worker program. Research on the association between gender and attitudes toward immigration is mixed, although Sidanius et al. (2001) suggest that males hold more hostile attitudes toward minorities than do females. Education is strongly associated with support for liberal immigration policies in most studies. Higher levels of formal education may allow individuals to think more globally and transcend narrow appeals of intergroup negativism. Moreover, individuals with higher levels of education and income also are likely to be more skilled, and consequently to feel less threatened by labor market competition with foreigners in the low-skill, low-wage sectors categories eligible to be guest workers.

Research studies offer conflicting predictions about the effect of minority status on attitudes toward immigration. Marginality theory suggests that, as members of historically disadvantaged groups, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians may be more likely than Whites to sympathize with immigrants, who also have been marginalized (Burns and Gimpel, 2000; Fetzer, 2000). A Pew Hispanic Center study found that slightly over half of both native-born and foreign-born Latinos viewed discrimination against Latinos to be a major problem in 2004. These views were held by Latinos regardless of citizenship status. Contact theory also suggests that U. S. Blacks, Latinos, and Asians have more opportunities to interact with foreign-born individuals, and consequently, are more likely than Whites to hold favorable attitudes toward immigration. In contrast, interminority conflict theory predicts that Blacks and Asians will show decreased support for immigration because of perceived competition over resources with Latinos, who comprise the largest U.S. immigrant group and are depicted largely as the main beneficiaries of a guest worker program. We theorize that race and ethnicity will play a greater role in shaping judgments toward a guest worker program than restrictive immigration policy, and that Latino respondents will be more likely to support guest worker policies than non-Latinos.

Residential Variables

Other potentially relevant demographic variables include urban, suburban, or rural residence (Fennelly and Federico, 2008) and state immigration level (Citrin et al., 1997; Hood et al., 1997; Alvarez and Butterfield, 2000; Wilson, 2001). In light of previous analyses, we theorize that rural and suburban residents are more likely to oppose both a temporary worker initiative and overall immigration than are urban residents. We also expect that a higher level of immigration in one's state of residence is associated with support for a guest worker program and opposition to reducing the immigration level. Such expectations are based on contact theory, which suggests that meaningful intergroup contact engenders more positive attitudes toward immigration (Allport, 1954; Pettigrew and Tropp, 2006). However, there also may be a threshold effect associated with the immigration level. Larger numbers of immigrants in one's state may improve attitudes toward immigration up to a certain point, after which increased numbers of immigrants promote a backlash. For instance, Anglo residents in California, the state with the largest numbers of foreign-born residents, were more likely to favor reducing immigration to the US than were residents of other states (Hood and Morris, 1997).

Economic Insecurity

Researchers have found that economic considerations, such as one's evaluation of personal finances (Citrin et al., 1997) and views of national economic conditions (Citrin et al., 1997; Burns and Gimpel, 2000), account for variations in attitudes toward immigration policies. We hypothesize that individuals with negative views of their personal finances and national economic conditions are more likely to oppose both a temporary worker program and increases in overall immigration because they feel more vulnerable to competition with immigrants over jobs, housing, or government services.

Beliefs about Immigrants

Finally, certain beliefs about immigrants have been shown to predict attitudes toward immigration policy. One of these is multiculturalism, the conviction that America should be a country of many cultures, as opposed to one. Individuals’ pre-existing negative attitudes toward immigrants also affect policy preferences (Hood and Morris, 1997; Wilson, 2001). Some of this effect may be derived from antipathy toward American minority groups in general. As recent immigrants have increasingly come from Latin America and Asia, the term “immigrant” has become strongly associated with “ethnic minority” (Burns and Gimpel, 2000). In our previous research, we found that negative immigrant trait attributions were significantly related to support for restrictive immigration policies (Fennelly and Federico, 2008). We predict that individuals who hold the view that the United States should be composed of one culture, instead of many, and who ascribe negative traits to immigrants will tend to oppose a temporary worker program and to support restrictive immigration policies.

DATA AND METHODOLOGY

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. RECENT GUEST WORKER POLICY PROPOSALS
  4. PUBLIC OPINION ON TEMPORARY WORKER POLICIES
  5. EXPECTATIONS ABOUT ATTITUDES TOWARD GUEST WORKER POLICIES
  6. DATA AND METHODOLOGY
  7. RESULTS
  8. DISCUSSION
  9. APPENDIX A
  10. APPENDIX B
  11. APPENDIX C: Variable Definitions
  12. REFERENCES

We selected the 2004 New York Times/CBS News poll of 744 likely U.S. voters for our analysis of attitudes toward guest worker and general immigration policies for two reasons. First, it is one of the few available datasets that contains both measures of attitudes toward guest worker programs for current unauthorized immigrants and attitudes toward legal immigration in general, allowing us to conduct a comparative analysis of the predictors of each policy type. Secondly, it contains the widest range of measures of the theoretically relevant predictors reviewed earlier. More recent surveys, such as those reviewed in the previous section, reveal similar levels of public support for the various policies.

To test our hypotheses we conducted bivariate probit analysis of opposition toward a guest worker program and toward generalized opposition to immigration. The two binary independent variables in our model were constructed as dummy variables using respondents’ answers to two survey questions. Opposition to a guest worker program was based on the question, “Should immigrants who have entered the U.S. illegally be allowed to apply for work permits which would allow them stay and work in the U.S. for three years, or shouldn't they be allowed to do that?” (1 = oppose guest worker programs; 0 = support guest worker programs). The measure for generalized opposition to immigration was based on the question, “Should legal immigration into the U.S. be kept at its present level, increased, or decreased?” (1 =“decreased”; 0 =“kept at present level” or increased”).

The predictors of opposition to each outcome variable could be modeled using separate discrete choice models, such as binary logit or binary probit. However, as discussed above, judgments about immigration in general and guest worker programs in particular are likely to be related. In this circumstance, the effects of the independent variables on each dependent measure can be more efficiently estimated by modeling the joint probability. Because the two related outcomes are binary, the appropriate estimator is a bivariate probit model (Greene, 2003). This model simultaneously estimates two prediction equations – one for each outcome – while accounting for the correlation between the residuals for each equation. In the presence of such a correlation, the procedure yields estimates that are more efficient (i.e., where the coefficients have smaller standard errors) than those produced by two separately estimated probit or logit models.

In the first stage of the bivariate probit analysis (Model 1), we tested the predictive power of background characteristics, residential status, political party affiliation and ideology, and views about the personal financial conditions and the national economy in explaining attitudes toward the two policy variables (see Appendix B for variable definitions). In the second stage (Model 2), we added immigration-related attitudinal predictors (i.e., immigrant traits and costs of immigration). In both models, all continuous predictors were normed to run from 0 to 1, while all dummy variables were coded on a binary 0/1 basis.7

RESULTS

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. RECENT GUEST WORKER POLICY PROPOSALS
  4. PUBLIC OPINION ON TEMPORARY WORKER POLICIES
  5. EXPECTATIONS ABOUT ATTITUDES TOWARD GUEST WORKER POLICIES
  6. DATA AND METHODOLOGY
  7. RESULTS
  8. DISCUSSION
  9. APPENDIX A
  10. APPENDIX B
  11. APPENDIX C: Variable Definitions
  12. REFERENCES

The hypothesized differences between determinants of attitudes toward the two policies are borne out in bivariate analyses of the CBS/New York Times data. The results suggest that attitudes toward guest worker programs and general immigration policies differ, but are not inconsistent. A majority of respondents oppose guest worker programs (67.8%), and individuals who support reducing the level of immigration are much more likely to object to guest worker programs (81.8%) than to support them (18.2%). This level of opposition to guest worker programs falls within the general range found in the surveys reviewed previously (see Appendix A).8 Although there is a statistically significant association between opposition toward guest worker programs and support for decreasing the immigration level (see Table B1 in Appendix B),9 there is also considerable variation in attitudes about guest worker initiatives among those who hold more favorable views toward overall immigration. Of those who support increasing or maintaining the current immigration level, slightly more than half (55.0%) objected to a guest worker program. Some of this ambivalence may reflect liberals’ concerns that guest worker programs will lead to the exploitation of temporary foreign workers or do not afford a path to legal permanent residence and citizenship.10

The results of our bivariate probit analysis are summarized in Table B2. The first notable statistic is the ρ coefficient for each model, which denotes the correlation between the residuals for the restrictive immigration and guest worker equations in each model. The ρ coefficients were of moderate size and statistically significant (p < 0.001) in both Model 1 and Model 2, indicating that judgments about each policy are indeed related to one another. This provides support for our decision to model the two outcomes jointly, rather than independently.

Turning first to the estimates for Model 1, we find that the only significant predictors of opposition to decreasing the immigration level are education (having a college degree reduces anti-immigration sentiment) and party identification (opposition increases with Republican Party identification). When we convert the effects to probabilities, the likelihood of opposing immigration drops by 0.16 as a function of having a college degree (as opposed to a high school degree or less), and increases by 0.15 as one moves from being a strong Democrat to being a strong Republican (i.e., from 0 to 1 on the normed party identification variable).11,12

There are several variables that predict opposition to a guest worker program. In particular, residents of high-immigration states, Latinos, and college graduates are likely to support guest worker policies, while opponents are more likely to have negative perceptions of the national economy. The results do not support our hypothesis that political ideology is a stronger predictor of attitudes toward a guest worker program than political party affiliation; neither ideology nor party affiliation has statistically significant effects in this model. The most important determinant of support for a guest worker program in Model 1 is whether the respondent is Latino. In terms of effects on outcome probability, the estimate for the Latino dummy variables shows that the probability of opposing a guest worker program drops by 0.33 when a respondent is Latino rather than White. None of the other controls for race/ethnicity are significant.

State immigration level and possession of a college degree have significant, but weaker, effects on attitudes toward a temporary worker initiative. Converted to marginal effects, these estimates indicate that the probability of opposing a guest worker program drops by 0.10 for individuals in high-immigration states, and by 0.11 for college graduates (compared to individuals with a high-school degree or less.).

As mentioned earlier, individuals with pessimistic views of national economic conditions are more likely to oppose guest worker programs, perhaps because they fear competition for jobs. The probability of opposition to a guest worker program increases by 0.21 as one moves from the most positive view of the national economy to the most negative view.

Variables measuring immigrant trait attributes in Model 2 and perceived costs of immigration increase the overall fit of the bivariate probit model, as demonstrated by a significant Wald test for the difference between the models (χ2(4) = 72.11, p < 0.001).13 In other words, these two variables appear to have some marginal utility in predicting the joint probability of opposition to the two policies.

Based on the actual coefficients, we see some stability in the results, after the inclusion of the additional variables in Model 2. As in Model 1, individuals with lower levels of education and those who identified as Republicans are significantly more likely to oppose immigration in general, although the magnitude of the coefficient for education decreases slightly in the second model. In both models residents of high immigration states and non-Latinos ware significantly more likely to oppose a guest worker program. The size of these effects is also similar: in terms of effects on outcome probabilities, the likelihood of opposing a guest worker program drops by 0.11 for individuals living in high-immigration states. Likewise, the probability of opposing a guest worker program decreases by 0.27 among Latinos, compared to Whites. However, in the guest worker equation, the effects of having a college degree and negative perceptions of the national economy are no longer significant in the second model, while the effect of being Asian becomes significant (p < 0.05). Converted to a change in probability, the probability of opposing a guest worker program increases by 0.22 when a respondent is Asian, rather than White.

In Model 2, the perceived cost of immigration proved to be the most important variable, explaining both generalized opposition to immigration, and opposition to a guest worker program. The probit coefficient for this predictor was the largest one in both equations (i.e., b = 0.84 in the immigration-in-general equation and b = 0.91 in the guest worker equation; both p < 0.001). Converted to effects on outcome probability, these estimates came to 0.33 and 0.30, respectively. In other words, moving from the lowest possible to the highest possible perceptions of the costs of immigration increases the probabilities of opposing immigration in general and opposition to a guest worker program by 0.33 and 0.31, respectively. Since probabilities range from 0 to 1 by definition, these are sizable changes.

Additional tests also revealed that the predictors of opposition to increased immigration and to guest worker programs are similar in Models 1 and 2; in both cases the perceived cost of immigration is particularly important.14

DISCUSSION

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. RECENT GUEST WORKER POLICY PROPOSALS
  4. PUBLIC OPINION ON TEMPORARY WORKER POLICIES
  5. EXPECTATIONS ABOUT ATTITUDES TOWARD GUEST WORKER POLICIES
  6. DATA AND METHODOLOGY
  7. RESULTS
  8. DISCUSSION
  9. APPENDIX A
  10. APPENDIX B
  11. APPENDIX C: Variable Definitions
  12. REFERENCES

The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic analysis of the determinants of attitudes toward guest worker policies. Because extensive research has been conducted on attitudes toward general immigration policies, we compared how attitudes toward guest worker policies differ in both their levels and their determinants to those of the former.

The bivariate probit analysis of the 2004 survey confirmed our predictions that attitudes toward guest worker and restrictive immigration policies are related to each other. Central to judgments about both policies are individuals’ perceptions of the costs of immigration, as measured by whether they believe immigrants take jobs away from Americans.

Our analysis also suggests that attitudes toward guest worker policies differ along ethnic lines. Latinos and Whites hold similar views toward general immigration policy, but Latinos are more likely to support a temporary worker initiative. This may be because guest worker programs would most directly affect Latino immigrants and their family members and friends who do not have legal status in the United States.15

In contrast, Asians hold similar views to Whites on overall immigration, but are significantly less supportive of a guest worker program. This may be because a larger proportion of Asian than Latino immigrants are able to enter the US with authorized visas – either with H1-B visas for high-skilled workers, with refugee visas, or under family reunification policies. Some Asian immigrants who have waited for long periods to bring in sponsored family members (McKay, 2003) may concur with the sentiment that guest worker programs “reward illegal behavior.” An alternative explanation is that some Asians may oppose a temporary guest worker policy on the grounds that it can lead to worker exploitation.

Given the political salience of the topic of unauthorized immigration, we were surprised to find that political ideology did not achieve statistical significance in the guest worker policy models. This may indicate that guest worker policy preferences cut across ideological lines as suggested earlier. That is, some conservative Republicans advocate for temporary worker policies because of business interests, while other conservative Republicans oppose such policies citing concerns that such programs reward “illegal” behavior. Alternately, ideological orientations may be significantly related to attitudes toward unauthorized immigration in regions with large minority and foreign-born populations. This would explain the significance of the variable measuring residence in a high-immigration state in our results.

We were also surprised to find that attitudes toward immigration in general are significantly affected by political party identification, but not by ideological conservatism. This differs from our analysis of a different national survey fielded during the same period (Fennelly and Federico, 2008). These apparently inconsistent findings may be the result of the high correlation between political ideology and political party identification. Such collinearity reduces the efficiency of the estimates and can lead to inconsistent estimates of their effects in repeated samples. The discrepancy also may be due to the use of a more simply worded measure of attitudes toward restrictive immigration policy in the present study.16

Overall, the findings in this and earlier studies give guidance to policymakers interested in reducing opposition to immigration reform measures. Particular attention should be paid to combating prevalent myths regarding the costs of immigration. Public educational campaigns may not be difficult to mount since there is ample evidence that immigrants (including unauthorized immigrants) help the economy – to wit the 2006 open letter to this effect signed by 500 economists (Independent Institute, 2006), and the 2007 Report of the Council of Economic Advisors. Different efforts may be needed to reach Asian Americans who are suspicious of guest worker programs. Support for temporary worker programs among this population may depend upon the inclusion of provisions in legislation that favor the entry of high- skilled workers and family members of both authorized immigrants and foreign-born citizens.

As a final note, lawmakers considering comprehensive immigration reform should bear in mind the lessons of history. Despite safeguards written into guest worker laws, in practice the Bracero programs were associated with a host of human rights abuses. Furthermore, programs promoted as temporary initiatives may not live up to expectations (Meyers, 2006). After the termination of the Bracero program, many American businesses continued to be dependent on foreign workers and hundreds of thousands of Mexicans continued to rely upon job opportunities in the US. Many of these workers sponsored the entry of their partners and children, adding sizeable numbers of new Latino immigrants to the U.S. population. This increase has been decried by some restrictionists, as well as by some social critics who chide the government for failing to develop plans for integrating guest workers and their families into mainstream society, thus creating “parallel societies,” in which natives and low-income newcomers live in the same country but share little else.

Footnotes
  • 1

    The program does not include employer requirements for healthcare coverage for workers during their employment in the United States (Turner and Rosenblum, 2005).

  • 2

    We acknowledge, however, that attitudes toward “legal” and unauthorized immigration may not be psychologically distinguishable. Wording experiments conducted by The Gallup Organization (2007) suggest that respondents answer immigration questions similarly whether the term “immigration” or “illegal immigration” is used.

  • 3

    Another difference between the two policies is that the most recent proposal for a temporary worker program is closely associated with the George W. Bush administration. As a result, some people may base their support or opposition for a temporary worker program on their sentiments toward the president. Consequently, responses to survey questions about temporary worker programs that mention the president may be biased. For our analysis of attitudes toward temporary worker policies, we initially considered using data from the 2004 NPR/Kaiser/Harvard immigration survey. However, because the guest worker question mentions President Bush, we opted to use the CBS poll with its more neutral wording instead.

  • 4

    A December 2005 survey by the Washington Post/ABC News indicated that 37% of Americans believed that “illegal” immigrants have a positive impact on the US, compared to 56% who believed that they harm the US. Attitudes toward unauthorized immigrants were more favorable in a March 2006 Associated Press (AP) poll, in which slightly more than half of respondents agreed that “illegal” immigrants contribute positively to the US on balance (51%), as opposed to imposing a burden (42%). It is difficult to tell whether the differences in these two polls reflect real changes in American public opinion, or if they are due to measurement error, or to threats to validity in the form of short-term external influences or events.

  • 5

    The TIME Magazine/SRBI and the CBS News polls yielded similar results.

  • 6

    For non-White Americans, Wilson found that only perceptions that unauthorized immigrants are a threat to economic growth was significant.

  • 7

    The survey's sample weights are applied in all models. This produces slight changes in the estimation of some statistics for the bivariate-probit model. Although bivariate probit is typically estimated via maximum likelihood, the application of survey weights creates a situation where the maximized likelihood for the fitted model no longer reflects the distributional properties of the actual sample. While the parameter values that maximize this likelihood remain consistent, the reported likelihood is referred to as a “pseudo-likelihood” for clarity (Greene, 2003). Moreover, the distributional deviation introduced by the survey weights means that the standard likelihood-ratio tests used to examine model fit are no longer valid. Therefore, Wald tests for overall model fit are reported instead.

  • 8

    As cited in Appendix A, a June 2007 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found 63% opposition to a guest worker program. In more recent surveys, attitudes toward immigration in general were also similar to those in the present study. For example, in a May 2007 CBS/New York Times poll, 20% of those who gave a response wished to see legal immigration increased (versus 17% in 2004), 41% wished to it remain at the same level (versus 36% in 2004), and 37% wished to see it decreased (versus 37% in 2004).

  • 9

    The Pearson correlation between the two variables (0.315) is significant at the 0.001 level.

  • 10

    A test for independence between the two variables yielded a large chi-square (93.713) that was significant at the 0.001 level.

  • 11

    All effects on changes in probability are estimated by obtaining (1) the predicted probability of opposing a particular program (marginalizing the estimates from the other equation) when the independent variable of interest equals 1; and (2) the predicted probability when the same independent variable equals 0. All other independent variables are held at their means in these calculations. The estimated change in probability is then computed by subtracting the probability (1) from probability (2). Since all continuous variables have been normed to run from 0 to 1 and all dummy variables have been coded on a 0/1 basis, these estimates indicate the change in probability that occurs when a continuous variable moves from its lowest to its highest value and the change in probability that occurs when a dummy variable takes on a value of 1 rather than a value of 0.

  • 12

    There is a high correlation between self-designated conservative or liberal political views and agreement or rejection of restrictive immigration policies, but the relationship between ideology and opposition to guest worker policies is more complex. Some liberals may support guest worker programs as a means of admitting more immigrants to the US or safeguarding the rights of labor, while others may reject guest worker programs, expressing concern about their potential for worker exploitation. This suggests a number of alternative hypotheses. One alternative is that the relationship between ideology and opposition to guest worker programs may be curvilinear, with opposition decreasing as one moves away from the far right to the center and increasing as one moves further to the left. We examined this possibility by reestimating Model 1 with the square of ideology included as an additional predictor. The estimates for this model indicated that the quadratic effect was nonsignificant in both equations (ps > 0.20), suggesting no curvilinear effect of ideology on opposition to either policy. A second alternative is that liberals are simply more variable in their opinions toward guest worker programs, with some expressing support out of a positive predisposition toward immigration and others expressing opposition as a result of concerns about labor exploitation. If this is the case, then the variance of the errors around a respondent's predicted outcome on the dependent variable – corresponding to the implied variance of his or her policy preference – should increase with liberalism in the equation predicting opposition to guest worker programs. In the context of binary outcomes, a hypothesis like this can be tested using a heteroskedastic probit model, which simultaneously estimates an additional equation predicting individuals’ error from a second set of independent variables (Greene, 2003). However, when we ran a model of this sort for opposition to guest workers alone, we found that error of prediction decreased rather than increased with liberalism. Thus, if anything, the results suggest that conservatives are more split. This could be interpreted as the result of conflict among conservatives between generalized negativity toward immigration (particularly unauthorized immigration) and conservative president George W. Bush's strong lobbying for a guest worker program.

  • 13

    This Wald test compares the models by examining the decline in fit for Model 2 when the coefficients for immigrant trait attributions and costs of immigration are constrained to zero (thus approximating Model 1). Note that the standard likelihood-ratio test for the comparison of nested models cannot be used here, since bivariate probit analysis with survey weights does not produce “real” likelihoods; see Note 7 above.

  • 14

    Differences in effects across the two outcomes were tested by rerunning each model with the coefficients for a given variable fixed to equality across the equations. The overall fit statistics for the constrained models were then examined to see whether they produced a significant decline in fit compared to the unconstrained model. In both Model 1 and Model 2, these analyses indicated that two predictors had significantly different effects on the probability of opposing each policy: state immigration level (Δχ2 = 6.05, with df = 1, p < 0.01, for Model 1; Δχ2 = 7.00, with df = 1, p < 0.01, for Model 2) and non-Latino ethnicity (Δχ2 = 6.19, with df = 1, p < 0.01, for Model 1; Δχ2 = 5.38, with df = 1, p < 0.05, for Model 2). In each case, the effects of these variables were stronger for opposition to guest worker programs than for opposition to immigration in general, leading to a poorer fit for the constrained models than the unconstrained model. However, the effects of ideology and party identification did not differ significantly across the outcomes in either Model 1 or Model 2 (all p values are > 0.20 for differences between the constrained models for each variable and the unconstrained model). Finally, in Model 2, constraining the effect of the perceived costs of immigration to equality across the outcomes did not significantly reduce the fit of the model (p > 0.50), suggesting that this variable is an equally important antecedent of opposition to immigration in general, and to opposition to guest worker programs.

  • 15

    The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 14.6 million individuals are part of mixed-status families, in which the head or spouse is an unauthorized immigrant (Escobar, 2006).

  • 16

    In Fennelly and Federico (2008), support for restricted immigration was constructed as the mean score on a scale of low (0 = pro-immigrant response) to medium (0.5 = middle response) to high (1 = anti-immigrant response) to questions regarding immigration policy: (1) Do you think there are too many immigrants in the US today, too few, or about the right number? (2) On balance, do you think immigration of people from other countries to the US is good, bad, or hasn't made much difference? (3) Should legal immigration be kept at its present level, increased, or decreased? (4) How do you rate the federal government on immigration? Is it too tough, not tough enough, or about right?

APPENDIX A

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. RECENT GUEST WORKER POLICY PROPOSALS
  4. PUBLIC OPINION ON TEMPORARY WORKER POLICIES
  5. EXPECTATIONS ABOUT ATTITUDES TOWARD GUEST WORKER POLICIES
  6. DATA AND METHODOLOGY
  7. RESULTS
  8. DISCUSSION
  9. APPENDIX A
  10. APPENDIX B
  11. APPENDIX C: Variable Definitions
  12. REFERENCES
Table 1. 
Importance of Immigration Issue
Pew Research Center (February 8–March 7, 2006)
 Immigration is a “big problem” for the U.S.
  Overall42%
  Conservative Republicans49%
  Moderate/liberal Republicans41%
  Conservative/moderate Democrats46%
  Liberal Democrats21%
Importance of “Illegal” Immigration Issue
Pew Research Center/Pew Hispanic Center (February 8–March 7, 2006)“Illegal” immigration bigger problem than “legal” immigration.60%
New York Times/CBS News (May 4–8, 2006)
“Illegal” immigration is a “very serious” issue for U.S.59%
NPR (July 19–23, 2006)
“Illegal” immigration most important voting issue.17%
Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg (June 7–10, 2007)
“Illegal” immigration is an “extremely important” issue to respondent.31%
USA Today/Gallup (July 6–8, 2007)
“Illegal” immigration one of the most important issues facing the U.S.37%
General Impact of “Illegal” Immigrants on the U.S.
 PositiveNegative
NPR/Kaiser/Harvard (May 22–August 2, 2004)14%59%
Washington Post/ABC (December 15–18, 2005)37%56%
AP/Ipsos Public Affairs (March 28–30, 2006)51%42%
Unauthorized Immigrants and Public Services
 ABC News/Washington Post (April 9, 2006)
“Illegal” immigrants “use more in public services than they pay in taxes.”34%
Unauthorized Immigrants and Threat to Jobs of Americans
 Don't take jobs awayTake jobs away
AP/Ipsos Public Affairs (March 28–30, 2006)65%29%
TIME Magazine/SRBI (January 24–26, 2006)56%
CBS News (April 6–9, 2006)34%
CBS/New York Times (May 18–23, 2007)57%30%
Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg (June 7–10, 2007)56%27%
Create Various Types of Guest Worker Programs
 AgreeDisagree
 CCFR (July 6–12, 2004)
Allow “foreigners who have jobs but are staying illegally” in the U.S. to apply for temporary-worker status.52%44%
 NPR/Kaiser/Harvard (October 2004)
Allow “some illegal immigrants” currently in U.S. to temporarily stay as long as they hold jobs that no U.S. citizen wants.44%52%
 TIME Magazine/SRBI (January 24–26, 2006)
Allow “illegal immigrants” to register as guest workers so government can track them.73%23%
 AP/Ipsos Public Affairs (March 28–30, 2006)
Allow “current illegal immigrants” to apply for temporary worker status.56%41%
 CBS/New York Times (May 18–23, 2007)
Allow “people from other countries” to be temporary guest workers in U.S.66%30%
 Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg (June 7–10, 2007)
Temporary guest worker status for “non-citizens” in general.49% 24%*
 NBC/Wall Street Journal (June 8–11, 2007)
Automatic work visa for “current illegal immigrants” who pay $5000 fine.31%63%
Institute Immigration Reform with Border Security and Guest Worker Program
 AgreeDisagree
Tarrance Group/Manhattan Institute72%21%
(Likely Republican voters)
Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg
(June 24–27, 2006)63%
  1. Note: *25% of the respondents in this survey indicated that they “hadn't heard enough about it to say” or gave a “don't know” response to this question; “hadn't heard enough” was offered as an explicit response option.

Support for Guest Worker Program vs. Other Policy Options
Washington Post/ABC News (December 15–18, 2005)
 Guest Worker Deportation
 61% 36%
Pew Research Center/Pew Hispanic Center (February 8–March 7, 2006)
 Temporary StatusDeportationPermanent Stay
Overall32%27%32%
Republicans42%29%22%
 Conservative46%28%19%
 Moderate/Liberal35%30%28%
Democrats27%25%37%
 Liberal27%14%49%
 Moderate/Conservative27%28%34%
USA Today/Gallup (July 6–8, 2007)
Require illegal immigrants to return home first and then return, with citizenship once requirements are met.  42%
Allow current illegal immigrants to stay in U.S., with citizenship once requirements are met.  35%
Require illegal immigrants to return home first and then return under temporary work permits.  8%
Deportation for all illegal immigrants currently in U.S.  13%

APPENDIX B

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. RECENT GUEST WORKER POLICY PROPOSALS
  4. PUBLIC OPINION ON TEMPORARY WORKER POLICIES
  5. EXPECTATIONS ABOUT ATTITUDES TOWARD GUEST WORKER POLICIES
  6. DATA AND METHODOLOGY
  7. RESULTS
  8. DISCUSSION
  9. APPENDIX A
  10. APPENDIX B
  11. APPENDIX C: Variable Definitions
  12. REFERENCES
Table B1.  Attitudes toward Guest Worker Policies by Attitudes toward Immigration Level (NYT/CBS, January 2004)*
Attitude toward Guest Worker ProgramAttitude toward Immigration LevelTotal
IncreaseKeep at Present LevelDecrease
  1. Note: *Weighted chi-square significant at p < 0.001 level.

Support9013282304
(57.3)(39.3)(18.2)(32.2)
Oppose67204369640
(42.7)(60.7)(81.8)(67.8)
Total157336451944
(100.0)(100.0)(100.0)(100.0)
Table B2.  Predictors of Opposition to Immigration in General and Guest Worker Programs: Bivariate Probit Analysis (NYT/CBS, January 2004)
PredictorModel 1Model 2
Opposition to Immigration in GeneralOpposition to Guest Worker ProgramOpposition to Immigration in GeneralOpposition to Guest Worker Program
bSEbSEbSEbSE
  1. Note: Weighted entries are bivariate-probit coefficients, with robust standard errors. For the income dummy variables, the excluded group is those making less than $15,000 a year; for the residence dummies, it is urban residents; for the race/ethnicity dummies, it is Whites; and for the education dummies, it is those with a high school degree or less.

  2. + p < 0.10, *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.001.

Age−0.00(0.003)0.0003(0.004)−0.001(0.004)0.003(0.004)
Gender0.09(0.12)0.15(0.12)0.03(0.12)0.14(0.13)
Income
 $15,000–$30,0000.21(0.22)0.40+(0.23)0.26(0.25)0.40+(0.24)
 $30,000–$50,0000.24(0.22)0.37(0.24)0.37(0.25)0.37(0.25)
 $50,000–$75,0000.11(0.24)0.16(0.25)0.22(0.27)0.15(0.25)
 Over $75,0000.16(0.24)0.08(0.25)0.26(0.27)0.08(0.26)
High Immigration State0.05(0.12)−0.28*(0.12)0.08(0.13)−0.31**(0.12)
Residence
 Suburban−0.06(0.14)0.08(0.14)−0.03(0.14)0.01(0.15)
 Rural0.02(0.15)−0.04(0.16)0.17(0.17)−0.15(0.17)
Race/Ethnicity
 Latino−0.06(0.28)−0.86***(0.27)0.05(0.28)−0.72**(0.29)
 Black0.02(0.19)0.07(0.21)0.06(0.21)0.02(0.22)
 Asian−0.35(0.48)0.14(0.52)0.002(0.53)0.90*(0.46)
 Other non-White−0.40(0.29)0.17(0.31)−0.48(0.31)0.15(0.32)
Education
 Some college0.13(0.14)0.12(0.15)0.17(0.15)0.18(0.17)
 College degree−0.42**(0.14)−0.30*(0.15)−0.33*(0.15)−0.16(0.16)
National Economy0.38(0.26)0.59*(0.29)0.33(0.29)0.45(0.30)
Fear of Job Loss0.01(0.16)0.10(0.16)−0.23(0.17)−0.05(0.18)
Ideology0.23(0.17)0.16(0.18)0.24(0.19)0.16(0.18)
Party Identification0.38*(0.16)0.23(0.17)0.42*(0.17)0.21(0.19)
Immigrant Traits−0.02(0.20)0.27(0.22)
Cost of Immigration0.84***(0.13)0.91***(0.15)
Constant−0.64+(0.36)−0.21(0.40)−1.06**(0.39)−0.59(0.43)
ρ coefficient0.450.37
Wald χ2 for ρ (df = 1)38.93***21.81***
Model Statistics
 −2 log pseudo-likelihood1,906.101,635.72
  Wald χ2 (df)81.91 (38)***150.21 (42)***
N784714
Weighted N791726

APPENDIX C: Variable Definitions

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. RECENT GUEST WORKER POLICY PROPOSALS
  4. PUBLIC OPINION ON TEMPORARY WORKER POLICIES
  5. EXPECTATIONS ABOUT ATTITUDES TOWARD GUEST WORKER POLICIES
  6. DATA AND METHODOLOGY
  7. RESULTS
  8. DISCUSSION
  9. APPENDIX A
  10. APPENDIX B
  11. APPENDIX C: Variable Definitions
  12. REFERENCES
Dependent Variables
Opposition to Guestworker Program: Should immigrants who have entered the U.S. illegally be allowed to apply for work permits which would allow them stay and work in the United States for three years, or shouldn't they be allowed to do that?
1 = yes; 0 = no
Generalized Opposition to Immigration: Should legal immigration into the United States be kept at its present level, increased, or decreased?
1 = decreased; 0 = kept at its present level/increased
Independent Variables
 Coded Values
Background characteristics
AgeAge in years
Gender1 = male; 0 = female
Income (excluded group is $15,000 or less)
 $15,000–$30,0001 = yes; 0 = no
 $30,000–$50,0001 = yes; 0 = no
 $50,000–$75,0001 = yes; 0 = no
 $75,000 or more1 = yes; 0 = no
Education (excluded group is no college)
 Some college1 = yes; 0 = no
 College degree1 = yes; 0 = no
Race/Ethnicity (excluded group is White)
 Black1 = Black; 0 = non-Black
 Asian1 = Asian; 0 = non-Asian
 Latino1 = Latino; 0 = non-Latino
 Other non-White1 = Other; 0 = non-Other
Region of residence and contact with immigrants
High-immigration state: Live in a state whose foreign-born percentage is higher than the aggregate national level1 = live in high-immigration state; 0 = does not live in high-immigration state
Residence (excluded group is urban):
 Suburban1 = live in suburb; 0 = does not live in suburb
 Rural1 = live in rural area; 0 = does not live in rural area
Economic considerations
Valuation of the national economy: How would you rate the condition of the national economy these days? Is it very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?1 = very bad; 0.67 = fairly bad; 0.33 = fairly good; 0 = very good
Fear of job loss: How concerned are you that you or someone else in your household will lose their job in the next year? Are you very concerned, somewhat concerned, not very concerned, or not concerned at all?1 = very concerned; 0.67 = not very concerned; 0.33 = somewhat concerned; 0 = not concerned at all
Political and ideological views
Ideology:1 = Conservative; 0.5 = Moderate; 0 = Liberal
Political affiliation:1 = Republican; 0.5 = Independent; 0 = Democrat
Attitudes toward immigrants and multiculturalism
Immigrant trait attribution: Generally, do today's immigrants work harder than people born here, not as hard, or isn't there much difference?1 = not as hard; 0.5 = not much difference; 0 = harder
Costs of immigration: Do you think the immigrants coming to this country today take jobs away from American citizens, or they mostly take jobs Americans don't want?1 = take jobs from American citizens; 0.5 = take jobs away from American citizens and take jobs Americans don't want; 0 = take jobs Americans don't want

REFERENCES

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. RECENT GUEST WORKER POLICY PROPOSALS
  4. PUBLIC OPINION ON TEMPORARY WORKER POLICIES
  5. EXPECTATIONS ABOUT ATTITUDES TOWARD GUEST WORKER POLICIES
  6. DATA AND METHODOLOGY
  7. RESULTS
  8. DISCUSSION
  9. APPENDIX A
  10. APPENDIX B
  11. APPENDIX C: Variable Definitions
  12. REFERENCES
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