Immigrant Perceptions of U.S.-Born Receptivity and the Shaping of American Identity

Despite ideals grounding American identity in principles and ideas, most U.S. citizens continue to believe that they are rooted at least in part in ascriptive characteristics such as religion, race, or language. Research suggests that these views shape attitudes toward immigrants, and that nonwhite and non-Christian immigrants may therefore be less likely to feel American. Drawing on survey and interview data, this article examines the ways ascriptive characteristics shape immigrants' identification as American. Our results confirm the importance of particularly skin tone and language in shaping identification as well as the role of perceived welcome in tempering their negative impact. Such identification and perceptions have important consequences, increasing immigrants' likelihood of naturalization and decreasing their desire to return to their countries of origin.

Publication Date:
Jan 01 2018
Date Submitted:
Jun 28 2019
RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences
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 Record created 2019-06-28, last modified 2019-08-05

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