Historical and contemporary anti-immigrant attitudes and policies in the U.S. and Europe are reviewed. Natives in host communities associate low-income immigrants with social disorder and thus with increased risk and fear of crime. But most immigrants are hard-working, law-abiding, and are more often victims of crime than are natives. The developed world has benefited from immigration from less developed countries but has practiced policies of forced acculturation and social exclusion. Research on immigration is on the rise, but has barely begun to focus on policy and other macro-societal influences, political acculturation, and host community responses to immigration. A comprehensive ecological model, adapted from Christens and Perkins (2008), is presented to guide action research on immigrant communities at multiple levels and focusing on the socio-cultural, physical, economic, and political environment. We must turn xenophobia into xenophilia, or the love, appreciation and strength of diversity.
Keywords: Anti-immigrant bias, immigration policy research, oppression, liberation, empowerment, wellness.