Back in the Shadows, Back in the Streets

Back in the Shadows, Back in the Streets

by Melissa R. Michelson, Menlo College, and Jessica L. Lavariega Monforti, California Lutheran University 

Although barred from voting in US elections, undocumented immigrants potentially can participate in the political arena in myriad ways, such as by attending meetings and joining protest marches and demonstrations. Previous research found mixed evidence of the degree to which such participation occurs in the undocumented Latino1 community and that it varies with political context, age at immigration, and undocumented collective identity (see Terriquez 2017 for a review). This article explores responses from undocumented Latino populations to the rise of candidate and then President Donald J. Trump in comparison to other Latino subgroups, including citizens and non-citizen permanent residents. Using a series of public-opinion polls with large Latino samples and including undocumented respondents, we compared reported levels of political trust and rates of non-electoral political participation from 2012, after the reelection of Barack Obama, and from 2016 to 2017, after Trump was elected. Overall, we found significant evidence that Latinos, including undocumented Latinos, were more cynical (i.e., less trusting) and more politically active in 2016 than in 2012.

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PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 51 / Issue 2 / April 2018