Media and the Immigration Debate

Grantees in this story

The U.S. media have hindered effective policy making on immigration for decades, says a new Carnegie Corporation-funded report by the Governance Studies Program at the Brooking Institution. The media’s impact has been increasing in recent years as a result of an ongoing evolution in the news industry. Read the report or executive summary.

The report’s primary authors, E.J. Dionne, Jr., a syndicated columnist with The Washington Post, and Banu Akdenizli, argue that deeply-ingrained practices in American journalism have produced a narrative that conditions the public to associate immigration with illegality, crisis, controversy and government failure.

Meanwhile, new voices of advocacy on the media landscape have succeeded in mobilizing segments of the public in opposition to policy initiatives, sometimes by exaggerating the narrative of immigration told by traditional news organizations. The combined effect is to promote stalemate on an issue that is inherently difficult to resolve and that is likely to resurface on the public agenda when a new administration and a new Congress take office in January 2009.

Support for immigrant integration is a fundamental component of Carnegie Corporation’s efforts to ensure that all Americans continue to be able to participate in our national life and, in turn, share the responsibility for the success of our democracy. Grantmaking activities include research, policy analysis and advocacy, communications, support for promising innovations, demonstration programs and replications, and support for capacity-building in selected institutions.