The Final Database of Anti-Immigrant Organizations, Part 2: An explanation of our data, methods, and coding mechanism

Each restrictionist website was then classified as pertaining to one or several types of groups. Organization Type 1 was Informational. The main objective of these groups was to educate the public about the destructive effects of immigrants and current U.S. immigration policy. Organization Type 2 was Advocacy. These groups focused on lobbying for political change directly and educating others on how to affect change at the local, state, and national levels. Organization Type 3 was titled Border Security. The primary objective of this type of group was to secure and provide constant surveillance of the U.S.-Mexico Border. Citizens’ groups or volunteer militias, such as Chris Simcox’s Minutemen, were the most common type of organization included in the Type 3 category. Organization Type 4 was Legal/Litigation. These groups focused on enforcing immigration laws exclusively through legal channels.

After creating this typology to better classify the anti-immigrant organizations included in our final database, Professor Sohoni and I fine-tuned the ways in which we would evaluate the demographic data each website presents. At this point, our research uses content analysis to focus on how anti-immigrant groups present demographic data to enforce and further legitimize their restrictionist claims. Professor Sohoni and I have also begun to evaluate demographic data in terms of their original sources (when the website includes these citations). We are finding that a majority of the websites in our database cite and recycle the same sets of statistics from the same sources (the Census Bureau, the Pew Hispanic Center, etc.). This is a notable finding and will be discussed in more detail in future blog posts.

In order to evaluate the overall importance of each website, Professor Sohoni and I have paid particular attention to the restrictionist organizations’ links to and from other groups using a relatively new service provided by the group Alexa (www.alexa.com).  Alexa is a subsidiary of Amazon.com that collects data on the browsing behavior of computer users. Ultimately, this data is the basis for Alexa’s web-trafficking reports which have been most helpful in Professor Sohoni’s and my research. Using these reports, we are able to define the relative importance of each group by Alexa’s global web traffic rankings. The higher the rank number, the less traffic the particular website receives.