In 2006, the United States House of Representatives introduced a bill that seeks to criminalize unauthorized immigrants, subjecting them to detention and deportation. Four years later, the Arizona State Legislature passed a similar measure, which classifies an alien’s presence in Arizona without the possession of proper immigration documents as a state misdemeanor. Both pieces of legislation entered the public sphere and stimulated debates on immigration, as cleavages within and among the Democrats and Republicans surfaced and opposition turned into highly publicized events. The bills crystallized the various hegemonic and contested discourses on immigration in American society. Using content analysis of The New York Times and USA Today, this study investigates the framing of immigration in two policy debates: on the Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437) in 2006 and on the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act or Arizona Senate Bill (S.B.) 1070 in 2010. It draws on the literature on media discourses, news frames, and framing process in order to measure the content and frequency of media frames; explain the struggle of different and political actors over meaning in these frames; and assess the durability, resilience, and adaptability of media frames on similar policy issues but different periods
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