Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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A succession of policy changes to the immigration and refugee system has been made in Canada in recent years by the Conservative federal government. Since most people’s understandings about immigration issues come from exposure to the news, the media have an important role in producing and reproducing prevalent public opinions to support and legitimize, or criticize, social and political actions. The present study examines how the immigration and refugee policy changes have been represented in mainstream print media and provides an important interface between recent political decision-making and society with regard to immigration issues. In our analysis, we demonstrate that there is a construction of the existing system as facing crisis due to rampant frauds to legitimize the implementation of more restrictive “get-tough” policies as pragmatic and commonsensical interventions. On the other hand, there is a privileging of framing immigration as being necessary for society, albeit in economic rather than sociocultural terms. In the media, social categorizations of immigrants into “good” and “bad,” and refugee claimants into “genuine” and “bogus,” are deployed to support the policy changes for a market-driven immigration system while restricting the admission of refugees and family-class immigrants, who are often portrayed as a burden on public resources.

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