Public opposition to immigration in Britain reflects perceptions of immigrants that focus disproportionately on “illegal” immigration and asylum seekers, rather than more numerous workers, students, and family members. This study examines coverage of immigration in the British national press, to see whether press portrayals of migrants provide a basis for these images of immigration underlying public attitudes. We use corpus linguistic methods to analyze 43 million words of news from 2010 to 2012. Among other findings, we show that press portrayals match public perceptions of migrants, with “illegal immigrants” and “failed asylum seekers” as predominant depictions in broadsheet and tabloid newspapers.
Blinder, S and Allen, W L. (2015) ‘Constructing Immigrants: Portrayals of Migrant Groups in British National Newspapers, 2010-2012’, International Migration Review, DOI 10.1111/imre.12206.