Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This study sought to understand the intersection of citizenship status and national identity as factors impacting perceptions of undocumented immigration in the U.S. Increased national identity is proposed to coincide with low levels of support and more negative associations with undocumented immigration. An additional hypothesis asserts immigrants and non-immigrants alike will illustrate parallel attitudes, though the naturalized group will retain more positive attitudes towards the impact and future of U.S. immigration. The current research was undertaken to illustrate how immigrants are compelled towards native-cultural distancing to gain access to privileges afforded to adherents to Anglo practices deemed as 'American' culture. Naturalized Mexican citizens and non-Hispanic White citizens of the United States represented two major citizen groups in this study. Research materials were distributed and achieved a total of 105 participants, including 26 naturalized Mexican citizens and 79 non-Hispanic White citizens. Participants completed a 45-questionnaire that targeted the following topics: national identity, language, immigrant acculturation, policy and practice, group size perceptions, as well as independent questions addressing the influence of undocumented immigration within the U.S. Significance was determined in certain content areas illustrating that the naturalized group asserts higher levels of support and positive affiliation towards U.S. immigration. Still, results indicated only slight group variability to support the expectation that the citizen groups share equivalent attitudes. Furthermore, findings support the hypothesis that increased national identity coincides with negative attitudes regarding immigration. Research implications suggest current immigration practices are in place to promote the interests of a perceived homogenous American identity advocated by an Anglo-American belief system.


iv, 78 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 58-62).