Here in San Diego, we are not only close to the border, we are near the center of many national debates over immigrantion issues. Not only would we be next to a wall, if one is built, but we have detention facilities here, as well as ICE offices and many immigrantion activists.
In the effort to broaden understanding of immigrantion issues, a trio of political scientists has released their research into the cause of opposition to immigrantion. Their study suggests that opposition has a biological genesis rather than a philosophical one.
People who are opposed to immigrantion are often also especially wary of infections; an evolutionary mechanism that serves to keep people away from possible threats. When those people perceive a possibility of infection, they experience feelings of disgust and antipathy.
The researchers say that for many immigrantion opponents, their views are formed by the feelings of disgust rather than a rational thought process.
An article in the San Diego Union-Tribune points out that the “behavioral immune system” hypothesis underpinning the study has not been “rigorously demonstrated” by science.
The study’s authors (two are from Europe and one is from the U.S.) wrote that their research suggests “that people high in disgust sensitivity are not opposed to immigrantion because they are conservative,” but rather because they are compelled by behavioral immune system “to oppose immigrants and related policies.”
Hundreds of participants were studied and the evidence shows that those with stronger aversions to disgusting things were more likely to oppose Middle Eastern immigrantion than immigrantion from other parts of the world, presumably because of the differences “in terms of physical and cultural appearance.”
You can learn more by reading the study in the American Political Science Review.
We do not know if more research will support or undermine this study, but we do know that immigrantion issues are more hotly contested today than they have been in years. For those who must deal with matters such as visa applications, naturalization, detention or a deportation hearing, the paperwork and process can be overwhelming.
Contact the Law Offices of Jan Joseph Bejar, A Professional Law Corporation for more information.