Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice


Criminal Justice

Advisor 1

Joel D. Lieberman, Committee Chair

First Committee Member

Terance D. Miethe

Second Committee Member

Deborah Shaffer

Graduate Faculty Representative

David Dickens

Number of Pages



This study examines the impact of mortality salience on opinions about illegal immigrants. Participants were asked to write about their own death or a control subject and then presented with scenarios of illegal immigration to the United States. The scenarios included a defendant who was either of Latin American or European origin and had or had not learned to speak English. However, the European condition had to be dropped due to unreliable identification of the origin of the European defendant. The results indicate that mortality salience caused an increase in the preference for deportation of an illegal immigrant who was perceived to have had a high level of contribution to the economy.


Assimilation; Criminal justice; Deportation; Human migration; Illegal immigration; Immigration reform; Inevitability of death; Mortality awareness; Terror Management Theory (TMT); Worldviews


Criminology and Criminal Justice | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance | Social Psychology and Interaction