Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Ann Miles

Second Advisor

Dr. Sarah Hill

Third Advisor

Dr. Vincent Lyon-Callo

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


The purpose of this master's thesis is to examine the underlying cultural perceptions of immigrants in the United States in online and offline worlds. In order to uncover these perceptions, I reviewed several anti-immigrant and pro-immigrant organizations' websites. Through nationalistic imagery and lists of recent immigrant crimes, anti-immigrant organizations promote ideals that set stereotype immigrants as "outside threats." Conversely, pro-immigrant organizations use stories of immigrants and refugees to show the humanity of a diverse population of immigrants, as well as to promote a sense of unity within a global community. In order to understand how popular perceptions of immigrants function in a local setting, I conducted interviews with several immigrant advocates in Southwest Michigan. Advocates attempt to combat antiimmigrant sentiments in various community outreach programs. While advocates are in a position to alleviate the suffering immigrants face, there is only so much they can do to combat the forces of structural violence that work against their clients. This research has implications for further studies on immigrant organizations, advocacy on the Internet, and the influences of structural violence in the lives of marginalized people.

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