ABSTRACT

Although immigration policy remains prominent on the national policy agenda, the interplay between presidents and news media on this topic has gone relatively unnoticed by the literature. If presidents hope to translate public attention to immigration into legislative support for comprehensive reform, they likely must be able to use their public comments on immigration to increase news coverage of immigration. Policy agendas theory and a common theory of news management maintain that presidential leadership of immigration news will be slight as presidents compete with other institutions’ agendas and are constrained by an unfavorable political environment in leading news coverage. This chapter’s findings show that presidents are best able to translate their attention to immigration into news coverage when that immigration news coverage also mentions the president, especially through high-profile public relations efforts, like the State of the Union address and press conferences.