Date of Graduation

7-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Sociology and Criminology

Advisor

Casey Harris

Committee Member

Shauna Morimoto

Second Committee Member

Jeff Gruenewald

Keywords

Crime, Immigrants, Immigration, News media

Abstract

Although an abundance of literature demonstrates that immigrant populations are less crime-prone than the native-born population, the majority of Americans believe that immigration inherently threatens the security of the United States. Because Americans are not well versed in the complex issues of immigration and crime, public opinion is undoubtedly influenced by media outlets’ crafted narratives that simplify circumstances and events into easily digestible material. The current study examines how media behavior changes and responds to social and political events by examining “frames” utilized in articles that produce narratives about immigration and crime. Using content analysis of over 1,700 articles published between 2014 and 2018, multi-level models reveal that (1) over half of articles describe immigrants as crime-increasing; (2) some frames are more likely to occur in response to specific events; and (3) some frames are less likely to occur in response to specific events. I conclude with implications of consumer behavior and ongoing debates and research on immigration and crime.

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