Political Science ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-15-2021


Why are Republican (GOP) members of the Congress bucking their party’s positions on immigration? I argue this is due to agriculture’s large-scale production needs for an immigrant, Latino workforce. Consequently, this immigration influx can excite racial threats which can provoke opposition to immigration and minority interests. This raises an interesting question: Do the agricultural transition and an immigrant workforce cross-pressure district opinion and MCs’ position-taking on immigration and Latino interests more broadly? I assert agriculture’s economic pressure mitigates racial threats, which produces greater support of immigration and Latino issues. Using data from the Congressional Cooperative Election Survey, Congress.gov, Census of Agriculture and other sources, I look at behaviors in the 113th through 115th Congress. I find large-scale ag production can mitigate racial threat pressures on district immigration opinion and MCs’ position-taking on Latino interests. On the other hand, districts without large-scale ag pressures have unmitigated racial threat pressures.

Degree Name

Political Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Political Science

First Committee Member (Chair)

Michael S. Rocca

Second Committee Member

Jessica T. Feezell

Third Committee Member

Gabriel R. Sanchez

Fourth Committee Member

Peter J. Longo




congress, position taking, agriculture, immigration, Latino interest

Document Type