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Informing Voters About Immigration Policy Fosters Pro-immigration Views

September 20, 2023 (1 min read)

Alexander Kustov, Michelangelo Landgrave, Sept. 6, 2023

"The US public significantly lacks knowledge about immigration. While various attempts to correct misperceptions have generally failed to change people's minds about the issue, it is possible that this failure has been the result of not providing relevant information. We argue that informing the public about the difficulty of the legal immigration admission process could be an effective, perspective-changing way to raise support for more open immigration policies. We test and confirm this hypothesis using a national US survey experiment that informs respondents about US immigration's administrative burdens and restrictions through short verifiable narratives. We also provide the first evidence of the widespread ignorance about the immigration process across diverse political and demographic groups. Our results suggest that providing new factual information on the immigration process's difficulty has more promise to change policy preferences than challenging skeptics' existing beliefs about immigration's effects or numbers."