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James Madison Undergraduate Research Journal (JMURJ)

Abstract

Negative and positive attitudes between population in-groups and out-groups are matured through a variety of experiences, chief among them being the extent of interaction between the two groups. The contact hypothesis observes the extent of interaction between in-groups and out-groups—distinguished by a particular demographic descriptor—and asserts that the extent of the two groups’ interaction is positively correlated with favorable attitudes directed toward the out-group. This research analyzes the potential effect that the undocumented Latino immigrant population has on the sentiments of the established native population. In addition to attitudes toward the undocumented Latino population, the importance that U.S. residents place on the issue of citizenship for undocumented immigrants and their preferred reform policies regarding undocumented immigration were also measured. This study has implications for the ongoing debate surrounding immigration reform and helps to explain the way in which geography affects political opinion on immigration.

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