Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

The increasing toll of racism and discrimination on California agricultural workers and their families under the Trump administration

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Over 800,000 Mexican agricultural workers are employed in California each year, of which approximately 400,000 are estimated to be undocumented immigrants. Previous studies have found President Trump to be distinct in his anti-immigrant rhetoric and explicit verbal attacks of immigrants and refugees, which predicts hostile community attitudes towards immigrants and minorities. We convened 19 focus groups (FG) in diverse regions of California to gather information from Latina/o agriculture workers on the potential impact(s) of the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and immigration policy on this population. Widespread racism and discrimination were overwhelmingly noted in all FG sessions. Participants reported being the targets of increasingly hostile behavior, including hate crimes, that they attributed to anti-immigration rhetoric. Therefore, participants also reported an increasing sense of fear and psychological distress that led them to avoid community participation. Perceptions of racist and intentionally harmful policies contributed to reduced interactions with healthcare facilities and prompted both documented and undocumented participants to withdraw themselves and their children from public programs. For FG participants, the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and immigration policy severely impacted their community resulting in profound negative impacts on their economic well-being, education, and physical and emotional health.


© The Author(s) 2021.

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