Perception of immigrants in media

Most political rallies and news reports frequently discuss immigration problems and immigrants. The language used by lawmakers, news reporters, and immigration advocates has a significant impact on how the general public views immigrants and helps to label them. Politicians' and immigration advocates' remarks about immigration can be featured in media reports, whereupon many viewers will watch and form their own opinions. Irrational remarks made by news viewers and pejorative, sentimental immigration news coverage further reinforce negative public perceptions of and attitudes toward immigrants. (Gonzales et al., 2013, p. 1176).

Terms and metaphors used to describe unauthorized immigrants and their implications

Illegal immigrants

The term illegal immigrants are often used by news reporters to report news regarding unauthorized immigrants in the United States of America. The term illegal immigrants have been legitimized by politicians and the American media to refer to people who come to America lacking proper documentation. As a result, the public has found legitimacy of treating immigrants as unwanted people who are not needed in the community. Being illegal makes the people profile immigrants as criminals which lead to negative treatment in the community. As a result, immigrants are denied proper treatment like any other member of the community and their innocent children as well as the immigrants who are in the country possessing the necessary documents. News reporters and politicians are obsessed with the border wall between the United States of America and Mexico, and they report that its major purpose is to deter illegal immigrants from crossing the border. As a result, negative sentiments and labeling have emerged on Mexican-Americans living in the United States since most of them are labeled as illegal immigrants even when they have probable cause and papers to reside and work in the United States of America. There has been an increased in hostilities against Mexican Americans in residential and public areas. Most of the Mexican Americans seeking jobs are denied jobs due to the labeling and negative perspectives developed by the news reporters and the politicians (Zimmerman, Arely 2012).


Immigrants are described as aliens who are not welcomed in the American society because they increase the competition for the existing available jobs and use American resources that are for the American people. The labeling of the immigrants as aliens promotes negative perspective and sentiments amongst the people who in turn treat the immigrants as aliens. The negative perspective that is developed by the news reporters and the politicians does not spare the immigrants who have permits to work and live in the United States of America. Every immigrant residing in America with Mexican, African and Asian background are, therefore, treated as aliens who are denied the privileges enjoyed by Americans such as access to healthcare and education for their children. Innocent children whose parents are immigrants are not spared of ridicule in school as a result of negative news and sentiments from other kids who develop negative perspective and sentiments from watching the news and political rallies against immigrants (Woods, Joshua, and Agnieszka Marciniak, 2017, p. 202).


Immigrants are referred to as criminals due to the growing connection between immigrants and crime as well as drug trafficking. News reports of Mexican immigrants dealing with drugs make the perspectives of Americans label immigrants as criminals, and this makes them get viewed with suspicion in the neighborhoods. The Mexican American wall border is built on the purpose to deter criminals and drug cartels from entering American territories to sell drugs. The growing negative news by reporters and politicians to help rally Americans support towards the building of the Mexican-American border wall. The construction of the wall between American and Mexico develops perspectives that Mexican immigrants are criminals who are not welcome in the American society (Timberlake et al., 2012, p. 867).


Politicians view immigrants as parasites because they take away jobs from American jobless youths. Immigrants most often come to America to seek employment due to the failing Mexican economy which has led to the deterioration of industries. The growing number of jobless Americans is now being blamed on the increase in the number of immigrants in America from Mexico and other overseas countries affected by civil wars (Abrajano et al., 2017, p. 6).

Racial frames that underlie the terms used to describe unauthorized immigrants

Racial Framing uses cognitive stereotypes and undesirable racial matters such as drug trafficking and crime. The white elites through American institutions have created racial frames that are reinforced by major media outlets and political discourse. The white frame is the dominant frame that shapes the thinking and perspectives of white Americans who view other races as immigrants. The negative stereotyping of the people of color as criminals and drug smugglers while maintaining that the white people are decent and honorable. The institutions are used to arrest and keep away people of color and sometimes they are deported back to their countries (Fryberg, Stephanie A., et al., 2012, p. 97).

In conclusion, media outlets and politicians play a significant role in the development of negative attitudes and perspectives against immigrants. Political discourse and media reporting of Mexicans and people of color being involved in crime and drug trafficking leads to negative sentiments that create a white racial frame of their entitlement to laws and attitudes that bar immigrants from getting into America.

Works Cited

Abrajano, Marisa A., Zoltan Hajnal, and Hans JG Hassell. "Media Framing and Partisan Identity: The Case of Immigration Coverage and White Macropartisanship." Journal of Race, Ethnicity and Politics 2.1 (2017): 5-34.

Fryberg, Stephanie A., et al. "How the media frames the immigration debate: The critical role of location and politics." Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy 12.1 (2012): 96-112.

Gonzales, Roberto G., Carola Suárez-Orozco, and Maria Cecilia Dedios-Sanguineti. "No place to belong: Contextualizing concepts of mental health among undocumented immigrant youth in the United States." American behavioral scientist 57.8 (2013): 1174-1199.

Timberlake, Jeffrey M., and Rhys H. Williams. "Stereotypes of US immigrants from four global regions." Social Science Quarterly 93.4 (2012): 867-890.

Woods, Joshua, and Agnieszka Marciniak. "The Effects of Perceived Threat, Political Orientation, and Framing on Public Reactions to Punitive Immigration Law Enforcement Practices." Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 3.2 (2017): 202-217.

Zimmerman, Arely. "Documenting Dreams: New media, undocumented youth and the immigrant rights movement." Confessions of an Aca-Fan (2012).

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