Welcoming the Religious Stranger: Social Sources of Attitudes Towards Syrian Refugees

Drews, Elizabeth
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Due to the human rights violations occurring in Syria, many Syrians fled their homeland and are now refugees. Their refugee status and potential admission to the United States is a hotly contested issue because many Americans perceive both realistic and symbolic intergroup threats from Syrian refugees. Of note is the fact that most Syrians are Muslim; the intersection between religion and refugee status plays a role in these perceived threats. In this thesis, I examine four key independent variables – political affiliation, religious tradition, educational attainment, and gender – and their effects on respondents’ approval or disapproval for potential policies increasing United States admission of Christian and Muslim Syrian refugees. I find that religious tradition and political affiliation are two demographic characteristics that significantly impact one’s approval of these potential refugee admittance policies.