Title

Who Will Pick Georgia’s Vidalia Onions? A Text-Driven Content Analysis of Newspaper Coverage on Georgia’s 2011 Immigration Law

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2013

Publication Title

Human Organization

Abstract

Media accounts on debates around immigration reform in the United States have framed a range of arguments from supporting tougher immigration enforcement to providing amnesty to the large numbers of unauthorized immigrants currently living in the country. The main objective of this article is to discuss the potential social and economic impacts of the Georgia anti-immigration bill House Bill (HB) 87 as framed by newspaper stories leading up to the bill's passage in 2011. The second objective is to examine differences in argument framing of the media coverage between major metropolitan newspapers compared to bilingual (English and Spanish) newspapers in Georgia. The third objective is to report on participant observation of political advocacy meetings held in rural Georgia to advise distressed Latino immigrants about the bill's implications. A content analysis was conducted of four months of newspaper articles from three major metropolitan newspapers and two bilingual newspapers. The metropolitan newspapers were more likely to frame arguments in support of the bill that the federal laws were inadequate to control illegal immigration. The political advocacy meetings framed arguments around the questionable constitutionality of the law and the racial overtones of the legislation (e.g., racial profiling). The implications of these immigration debates for Georgia's current immigration policy are discussed.