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Following the significant political, economic, and social changes that marked the end of the 20th century, the 21st century holds promise of producing a truly global village. In principle, multiculturalism and global openness are widely stated ideals (e.g., Berry & Kalin, 1995, 2000; Fredrickson, 1999) and, in practice, the economies of nations are more interrelated and interdependent than ever before. Nevertheless, prejudice and bias, not only toward minority groups within a country but toward immigrants from other countries, still characterize the attitudes of many individuals (e.g., Davis & Smith, 1994), and nations still carefully restrict immigration. Myrdal (1944) recognized a similar duality of orientations toward Black Americans on the part of White Americans. On the one hand, White Americans held strong values that favored equality and opportunity for all. On the other hand, they engaged in practices that systematically limited the social and economic opportunities for Blacks. This "American dilemma" defined the central sociopolitical issue in the United States for the 20th century (Jones, 1997). The duality of orientations toward immigration may, in an increasingly global society, similarly define central national and international issues for the 21st century.
The present article explores the bases and dynamics of attitudes toward immigration and immigrants in Canada and the United States. We propose that despite ideals and rhetoric about global interdependence, openness, and acceptance, immigration is seen as posing fundamental psychological threats to groups and individuals in societies (see also Berry, 1991; Berry, Kalin, & Taylor, 1977; Stephan & Stephan, 2000). These threats may be material, in terms of perceived challenges to one's well-being, or symbolic, in terms of social identity. With regard to material threat, Realistic Group Conflict Theory (Campbell, 1965; Sherif, 1966) posits that perceived group competition for resources produces efforts to reduce the access of other groups to the resources. With respect to symbolic threat, Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979; see also Self-Categorization Theory: Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, & Wetherell, 1987) states that the social categorization of people into outgroups (different than the self) and an ingroup (which includes the self) stimulates a motivation to perceive or achieve a sense of positive group distinctiveness. One way of achieving and maintaining positive distinctiveness for one's own group is by limiting the opportunities of other groups and their members. In this article, we consider the role of both perceived competition for resources and group identity in determining attitudes toward immigrants and immigration.
Because of the threats that they are seen as posing, immigrants face a fundamental dilemma. On the one hand, immigrants who do not do well economically may be perceived as detrimental to national well-being--as a drain on social services such as welfare and unemployment insurance (e.g., Johnson, Farrell, & Guinn, 1997; "Gallup short subjects," 1999). Also, immigrants who do not fare well socially and thus are not integrated into the "mainstream" may be perceived as threats to collective identity (e.g., Johnson et al., 1997). On the other hand, and perhaps less obviously, when immigrants succeed economically, they may also be viewed negatively by members of the receiving society. In particular, the successes of immigrants may at times be seen as coming at the expense of nonimmigrants. Such success may also challenge the dominant position of nonimmigrants, as immigrants integrate or assimilate themselves into the society and thereby pose threats to the positive distinctiveness of members of the receiving society, arousing antipathy and discrimination. Consequently, whether immigrants fail or succeed economically and socially, they may be perceived negatively by individuals who identify with the receiving society.
Studying responses to immigration and immigrants in Canada and the United States offers a cross-national perspective on the operation of the fundamental group processes, competition and social identity, that underlie these attitudes. The immigration policies of Canada and the United States differ in several ways. In Canada, and to a lesser extent in the United States, immigration policies are specifically designed to ensure the economic success of immigrants. We argue, however, that this very success is often the root of negative attitudes toward immigrants and immigration.
We begin by providing background information on current immigration policies and levels of immigration to Canada and the United States. Then, we present an overview of the theoretical framework in which our research is situated. The discussion of our research that follows examines both situational influences on immigration attitudes, such as media presentations of immigration-relevant issues, and individual differences in perceivers that influence immigration attitudes, such as Social Dominance Orientation. In particular, we describe the role of perceived group competition for resources, desire for group dominance, and zero-sum beliefs (beliefs that more for immigrants means less for nonimmigrants) in determining attitudes toward immigrants and immigration. As we will discuss, these three factors are intimately connected as a source of negative immigration attitudes. We also explore the potential role of more general ethnic prejudice in contributing to current negative attitudes toward immigrants and immigration. Finally, we describe our recent attempts to improve attitudes toward immigrants and immigration through the targeting of perceived group competition and zero-sum beliefs and through the framing of collective identity, specifically national identity. We conclude by discussing future research directions and the implications of our work for successfully moving in the direction of a truly harmonious global village.
Immigration to North America
Our research has focused on immigration to Canada and the United States, two countries that have different emphases in their immigration policies. The Canadian Annual Immigration Plan sets out the desired number of new immigrants per year and indicates the desired levels of allowable immigrants in each of two admissible categories: economic class immigrants and family class immigrants (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2001a). For 2001, the overall planning range is 175,000-200,000 immigrants (approximately 0.70% of the current population). Of these potential immigrants, approximately 68% will be selected as economic immigrants, who "bring with them the skills, entrepreneurial spirit and business knowledge that allow them to contribute to Canada's economy soon after arrival" (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 1999, p. 8). These immigrants will be selected specifically on the basis of their ability to "successfully establish in Canada," and the selection criteria utilized are "designed to meet Canada's demographic and labour market needs" (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2001b). Economic immigrants include skilled workers, entrepreneurs, investors, and self-employed individuals, who are assessed on a selection or point system that takes into account such factors as education, experience, occupation, and demographics (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2001b). The remaining 32% of immigrants to be admitted into Canada in 2001 will be family class immigrants who have close family members who are permanent residents or citizens of Canada. Sponsors of family class immigrants are financially responsible for their relatives for the first 10 years of their residence in Canada (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2001b). Thus, it is evident that current Canadian immigration policy places a heavy emphasis on ensuring that immigrants are economically stable and successful in Canada. The Canadian Annual Immigration Plan also includes a separate refugee category, with the planning range for 2001 set at 22,000-29,000 refugees (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2001a).
In the United States, the Immigration Act of 1990 sets out limits on immigration and the preference categories used to select immigrants (U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 2001). There is currently a somewhat flexible annual cap on immigration of 675,000 (approximately 0.25% of the current population), involving three categories: employment-based immigrants, family-sponsored immigrants, and diversity program immigrants. Employment-based immigrants make up approximately 21% of allowable immigrants, family-sponsored approximately 71%, and diversity program selections approximately 8%.
In contrast to the situation in Canada, then, employment-based immigrants do not constitute the majority of immigrants to the United States. Nonetheless, the 1990 act more than doubled the potential size of this class of immigrants over previous limits, whereas the family-sponsored limit increased only slightly (U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 2001). In addition to the increase in the level of employment-based immigration, the current immigration policy places a stronger emphasis on highly skilled immigrants and allows a lower proportion of unskilled workers. The intention is to allow employment-based immigrants who "will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States" (U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 2001), and the program is designed to ensure that "the admission of aliens to work in this country on a permanent or temporary basis will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages and working conditions of U.S. workers" (U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, 2001). Family-sponsored immigrants, the largest class of immigrants, must be sponsored by a close family member who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. The sponsor must meet certain income requirements and is legally responsible for financially supporting the family member for approximately 10 years or until he/she becomes a U.S. citizen (U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 2001). A small proportion of immigrant visas are reserved annually for the relatively new diversity program, which gives priority to people who come from countries with recent low rates of immigration to the United States. These visas are assigned through the annual diversity lottery (U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 2001). As in Canada, the U.S. Immigration Act also includes a separate category of refugees, with an annual ceiling of approximately 90,000 (U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 2001).
In summary, the current immigration …