Journal of Public Management & Social Policy


Schneider and Ingram’s theory of policy design (1997) states that policy making includes a process through which knowledge is socially constructed and is a domain in which power elites are able to manipulate symbols, rhetoric, images, and distort logical lines of inquiry to justify policies that privilege certain social groups while stigmatizing and disenfranchising others. Policies act as lessons, and individuals, in turn, then internalize messages on their value to society based on the policies that are assigned to them. Using qualitative data in the form of in-depth interviews conducted with Latinos in Arizona, this paper asks, Is Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 a degenerative policy? Findings show that a degenerative policy as S.B. 1070 causes harm by obstructing the political integration of Latinos and Latino immigrants in the United States, as they report feeling increasingly targeted by the state and repeatedly portrayed as criminals and security threats. As a result, Latinos tend to alienate and have little to no desire to engage in conventional forms of political participation. Especially given the fact that Donald Trump is now president, public administration as the action part of government has the opportunity to play a crucial role in changing these dynamics into a more positive scenario, one in which democracy is strengthened rather than stifled, that upholds key values of social justice and equity in its interactions with the constituents it serves (especially by street-level bureaucrats), and is devoted to community building and improvement.



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