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How has the tone of immigration debate changed over the decades?




Photo taken on February 4, 1981 shows US President Ronald Reagan, Vice-President George Bush and the Reagan Cabinet members
Photo taken on February 4, 1981 shows US President Ronald Reagan, Vice-President George Bush and the Reagan Cabinet members
STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

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In 1980, George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan debated immigration policy. The tone of their debate was, arguably, downright loving.

Their attitude stands out in stark contrast to rhetoric used today.

Mitt Romney coined the phrase, “self-deport” -- asking unauthorized immigrants to turn themselves into the authorities. Trump said that Mexico is not a friend to the US. Obama calls undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children, “dreamers.”

How has the tone of political rhetoric changed over the decades? How does language impact policy and public opinion?

Guests:

Leslie Berestein Rojas, Immigration and Emerging Communities Reporter for KPCC

Leo Chavez, Professor of Anthropology at UC Irvine with a focus in migration, media and discourse analysis

Joaquin Guerra, President of Mas Power Group, a political advocacy firm abased in San Antonio

Alfonso Aguilar, Executive Director, Latino Partnership at American Principles Project.