Xenophobia & Anti-Immigrant Extremism: From Fringe to Mainstream


Xenophobia and anti-immigrant extremism perpetuate the idea that immigrants, or people who are perceived to be “foreign” or “outsiders,” threaten America’s founding ideals and must be excluded from positions of power, citizenship, or even residence in the United States. Today’s xenophobic movement explicitly targets migrants and asylum seekers crossing the southern border and also seeks to further policies and violence against immigrant and non-white communities.

The movement and its ideology are reactionary. Movement leaders often leverage social anxieties about demographic shifts, social change, and political and economic uncertainty to fuel xenophobia. The movement spreads negative stereotypes and disinformation that dehumanize and criminalize immigrants, people with recent immigrant heritage, and communities of color, by portraying them as inherently threatening. This rhetoric has inspired deadly terrorist attacks targeting LatinX, Muslim, Jewish, African American, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. In recent years, mainstream actors—including politicians, elected officials, and media personalities—have escalated anti-immigrant sentiment by embracing extremist rhetoric and policies

Fact Sheets


  • Elizabeth Yates
  • Erin E. Wilson
  • Hanah Stiverson

Published on March 31, 2023


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