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Welcoming New Americans?Local Governments and Immigrant Incorporation$
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Abigail Fisher Williamson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226572512

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226572796.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 October 2019

Beyond Bureaucrats

Beyond Bureaucrats

Elected and Appointed Officials’ Incentives for Accommodation

(p.124) Chapter Five Beyond Bureaucrats
Welcoming New Americans?

Abigail Fisher Williamson

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explains what motivates local government officials’ responses to immigrants. Local officials’ socioeconomic characteristics, coupled with legal and economic incentives associated with their position, foreground understandings of immigrants as clients and contributors. Federal policies that require local officials to provide educational and other services to immigrants frame the newcomers as municipal clients. In addition, given limited options for raising local revenues, municipal officials increasingly see immigrant workers, entrepreneurs, and consumers as contributors to their economy. Contrary to findings in earlier studies, both bureaucrats and elected officials have incentives to incorporate immigrants. Some officials—particularly police chiefs—are less interested in serving immigrants and more interested in enforcement because their official role or political ideology foregrounds negative frames of immigrants. While these findings indicate that some local government officials are susceptible to negative frames of immigrants, the overall picture indicates that they are relatively supportive of immigrants. Indeed, comparing local officials’ views with polling responses from the general public, officials express distinctly more favorable views of immigrants.

Keywords:   immigrant, local government, federal, bureaucrat, elected official, police chief, incorporation, immigration enforcement, ideology

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