Also profiting from the criminalization of immigrants

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Also profiting from the criminalization of immigrants are media personalities such as Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck who have made lucrative careers by broadcasting anti- immigrant narratives (Golash-Boza 2009), companies who sell products to facilities that detain immigrants (e.g. Dyer 2000), and government agencies who have embraced punitive policies to increase their budgetary allocations. Michael Welch’s (2000: 73) research documents an instance of the latter, showing how by focusing on the policing of immigrants as lawbreakers rather than providing social services to immigrants as potential citizens, the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) ‘‘benefitted financially from its hard-line stance on immigration insofar as the agency has been rewarded with additional funding from Congress.’’ In short, myriad elite financial interests are served at the expense of Latino a immigrants who find themselves detained at alarming rates. The politics of criminalization Racial threat theorists have long acknowledged that rising minority populations coupled with economic decline tend to provoke anxiety amongst the white majority (Blumer 1958; Quillian 1995). As immigrant populations increase and white workers confront painful economic shifts such as demanufacturing, the stage is thus set for harsh anti-immi- grant backlash. Drawing on a broader discourse that Leo Chavez (2008: 2) has termed the Latino Threat Narrative, which portrays Latino a immigrants as an ‘‘invading force’’ capable of ‘‘destroying the American way of life,’’ politicians have in recent years sought to exploit such white racial anxieties. Much like George H.W. Bush’s infamous ‘‘Willie Horton ad,’’ which was effective because it stirred racial fears without appearing explicitly racist, the criminalization of Latino a immigrants in this way allows politicians to channel white anxiety away from failed economic policy and toward so-called ‘‘law breaking’’ immigrants (see Beckett and Godoy 2008). Thus in addition to disenfranchisement, which obviously precludes undocumented immigrants from political participation, poten- tial class-based political allies become formidable foes as white workers are encouraged to point their fingers at working class immigrants as the source of their declining economic and social position (see Beckett 1997: 86–88). Jamie Longazel and Benjamin Fleury-Steiner (2011; Fleury-Steiner and Longazel 2010) demonstrate how these politics play out on the local level in their work examining the anti-immigrant backlash which put Hazleton, Pennsylvania in the national spotlight in 2006 following passage of the Illegal Immigration Relief Act (IIRA)—a law that would punish businesses that hired undocumented immigrants, landlords who rented to undocu- mented immigrants and make English the official language of the city. Hazleton’s law came at the heels of an elite-manufactured moral panic prompted by unproven allegations that two undocumented Latino men murdered a white resident. Local media coverage of

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