O'Keefe, Michael R.
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Immigration reform stands as perhaps the most heated domestic issue dating back to the 1980s. The existing literature provides a well-documented foundation on the likely determinants of attitudes towards immigration policy in the U.S. This research extends the analysis to encompass the growing issue of illegal immigration by (1) incorporating recent studies concerning the characteristics of illegal immigrants to focus the analysis on actual demographic trends of the migrant population, and (2) utilizing the 2004 General Social Survey data which allow for a definitive assessment of attitudes with respect to illegal immigration policy in contrast to general immigration policy. The thesis seeks to answer the question, Do the determinants of opinion towards immigration policy in general hold for issues of illegal immigration? Similarly, are certain factors more pronounced when addressing illegal immigration? Findings suggest that attitudes towards general versus illegal immigration policies vary in important ways with respect to demographic, socioeconomic, geographic, and political variables.