Diana M. Orcés, "Democratic Values and Public Opinion Toward Immigrants: The Case of Ecuador." Latin American Politics & Society 51, 4 (Winter 2009): 131-155.
Scholars of support for democracy traditionally have been concerned with its causes, with the assumption that higher citizen support for democratic values will enhance democracy's chances of survival in a country. Beyond this fundamental proposition, however, the consequences of varying levels of support for democratic values remain largely unexplored. This article examines the relationship between support for democratic values and views toward immigration in Latin America, a region that is experiencing an unprecedented increase in the movement of people across borders. Through an analysis of Ecuadorian attitudes toward Colombian immigrants, this study finds strong evidence for the argument that support for democratic values has potential benefits not only for democratic sustainability in the region, but also for the reduction of social conflict and distrust that can stem from increasing immigration in a volatile economic context.
Very interesting article using LAPOP public opinion data. The general idea is that values associated with democracy (particularly tolerance) go along with tolerance of immigrants. More authoritarian values decrease that tolerance. She correctly notes:
As immigration has become an important part of host societies in developed countries and lately in the developing world (e.g., Peruvians in Chile), it is crucial to understand the dynamics of how preexisting attitudes toward democracy might help prepare citizens to react to a dramatic increase in immigration in a more tolerant and democratic manner (147).
One question I have, though, is whether attitudes vary according to the type of immigrant. Mexicans in the U.S. or Peruvians in Chile are seeking jobs, whereas Colombians in Ecuador are predominantly refugees (or we could even look at Salvadorans coming to the U.S. in the 1980s). Is there a reservoir of goodwill for such migrants? Or do levels of political tolerance not differentiate between the two?