Gendering Immigration: A Comparative Study of the Impact of Media on Public Opinion on the Huddled Masses

Although international migration is not a new phenomenon, little systematic evidence exists to verify the causal connections between the media discourse surrounding immigration and public attitudes toward immigrants. Utilizing survey experiments in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the U.K., and the U.S. this project empirically tests several hypotheses derived from the theory that media frames and public opinion are gendered. I find that native citizens are more likely to reject male immigrants when learning about the economic impacts of immigration and more likely to reject female immigrants when exposed to the cultural consequences of immigration. This research contributes to the understanding of the causal connections between the media and public opinion. It also offers implications for how states may respond to increasingly biased public opinion regarding and right-wing movements against immigrants. My cross-regional data and analyses allow for contextualizing the media effects and conceptualizing national identities that may be developed vis-à-vis citizens’ acceptance of or opposition to immigrants in becoming members of their countries.


Gendered Media Discourse Surrounding Immigration: Evidence from Hong Kong, Taiwan, the U.K., and the U.S.

Journalists’ portrayals of immigration issues and immigrants are found to be biased; however, little is known about how the media gender their framings of immigration. This research characterizes how the media frame immigration through content analysis of a representative sample of approximately 1,500 newspaper articles published in 2014 in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This research suggests that the media overwhelmingly incorporate implicit gender stereotypes when reporting on immigration. It also finds that the media coverage on the economic consequences of immigration is likely to lead to an emphasis on the masculine occupations that migrant men are likely to hold while the media are likely to associate the cultural consequences of immigration with migrant women. this research offers an integrated theory of the role of gender, when interacted with the economic and cultural aspects of immigration, in the construction and impact of media framings. This study offers implications for how states may respond to gendered immigration, particularly in light of recent global events, such as the media’s portrayal of male refugees in Cologne, Germany, as rapists.


Chinese Migrant Brides in Taiwan: Attainable, Imagined, and Undesired Citizenship

Since the 1990s a considerable number of Chinese women have migrated to Taiwan. Although the demographics of these marriage migrants have transformed throughout the years, a misunderstanding still exists in seeing migrant brides as purchased and citizenship attainment as their primary goal. Using in-depth interviews, this research challenges the myth that citizenship is the ultimate goal of immigrants and suggests that socio-demographic factors shape how immigrants who migrate for marriage strategically acquire citizenship. This research explains how migrant brides negotiate the politics of citizenship as their PRC national status come with stricter naturalization requirements than those for immigrants of other origins. While citizenship provides practical benefits but does not guarantee societal acceptance. My findings suggest that citizenship attainment is not desired by all immigrants, demonstrated by marriage migrants’ inactive pursuit of becoming citizens. This research contributes to the understanding of the Chinese migrant women’s imagination of citizenship as well as the reality of naturalization. It also offers implications for future research in exploring how the growing presence of Chinese migrant brides shapes the cross-strait relationship. This research raises implications for the circumstances under which immigrants become agents in deciding to become official citizens and partake in the political process.


Civic Education’s Impact on Opinion towards Immigrant Rights: A Comparative Study of Youths’ Attitudes (with Lee Ann Banaszak)

Current literature on opinion regarding immigration focuses on adults to understand how national-level factors, such as population of asylum seekers, affect attitudes toward immigrants. Individuals’ attitudes are often shaped in childhood, so we employ a survey of youth—those not yet in the work force—to examine how education, influences attitudes toward immigrants. We hypothesize that adolescents’ attitudes toward immigrants are likely to be developed and shaped by civic education’s coverage on immigration and cultural differences. Utilizing the 2009 IEA Civic Education Study of 15-year-old students in 26 democracies in a multilevel models, we test the effect of including immigration and cultural diversity in civic education classes on individual youth’s opinion. Our preliminary analysis suggests that the instructors’ incorporation of these topics increases support for immigrant rights. Our findings show that states play a role in citizens’ acceptance of immigrants’ rights and that educational institutions can enhance the understanding of immigration in light of the globalized world.


I also research on social movements and women’s political representation and participation.