ERIC Number: ED247364
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Apr
Reference Count: 0
A Survey of Public Attitudes toward Refugees and Immigrants. Report of Findings.
United States Committee for Refugees, Inc., New York, NY.; Kane, Parsons and Associates, Inc., New York, NY.
The attitudes of 950 adults toward refugee and immigration issues were surveyed in February 1984. Efforts were made to attain a fair mix of ethnicities in the sample but, in the end, data show few differences, between demographically different groups. In summary, findings suggest that most American adults do not view these issues as especially important when compared to other problems facing the country. However, most Americans have a very incomplete understanding of these issues. Fewer than half of those polled can correctly explain the difference between refugees and immigrants; most are unaware of the relative magnitude of the numbers of refugees and immigrants entering the country; and there are widespread misconceptions as to the countries from which refugees come. Almost two-thirds of those questioned feel both that too many foreigners are now coming to the United States and that the number of refugees entering the country should be lowered. None of the five arguments in favor of admitting refugees is endorsed by a majority of the public--and, most often, admission of refugees is opposed out of fear of their taking jobs away from Americans. Surprisingly, however, majorities of the public endorse admitting each of ten imaginary individuals whose profiles match those of typical entrants to this country. This contradiction of hostility towards groups vs. humanitarianism towards individuals suggests the great complexity of public opinion on these issues. Considerable revisions are necessary in our ideas about how the public views and understands refugee and immigration issues. (KH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Rockefeller Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: United States Committee for Refugees, Inc., New York, NY.; Kane, Parsons and Associates, Inc., New York, NY.
Note: Appended questionnaires may be marginally legible.