Generating Welcome or Backlash?
This chapter demonstrates that municipal efforts to aid immigrants can result in resentment toward the foreign-born as well as the local officials who serve them because the public does not necessarily share officials’ incentives to accommodate. Across the four new immigrant destinations, long-term residents often perceive efforts to serve immigrants as preferential treatment for undeserving outsiders. Disagreements among established residents over how to respond to immigrants exacerbate divisions between residents and leaders amid socioeconomic inequality. On the national level, whites have been shifting toward the Republican Party, in part over immigration concerns. This chapter offers a sense of how backlash against immigrants and supportive officials emerges locally. To address these challenges, local government officials can promote public acceptance of immigrants by fostering opportunities for meaningful interethnic contact, which make positive perceptions of immigrants more resonant with the public.
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