Publication Date

Fall 11-29-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication (MA)

Committee Chair

Jose Carlos Lozano

Committee Member

Arthur Soto-Vasquez

Committee Member

Ju Oak Kim

Committee Member

Angela Marcela Moran


The COVID-19 pandemic caused a repeat of a historical association between migrants and disease with the re-activation of Title 42, which gave the federal government the power to bar and expel migrants and asylum seekers without the opportunity to contest their expulsion, under the basis of public health. Based on a content analysis of the frames employed in the coverage of the pandemic by five newspapers located on the southern U.S. border for the period of 2020 to 2021, this study explored how these English-language newspapers gave priority to as sources, how they framed immigrants and immigration issues during the first two years of the COVID-19 epidemic, and how these frames shifted (if at all) over the course of the pandemic. The study found that while elements of “Othering” which treated refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants, and migrants (RASIM) as a problem to be dealt with were present in the five newspapers’ coverage, the most prominent frame was “Attribution of Responsibility”. This implies that all parties who were given a voice by the media were taking the opportunity to define and contest what issue to focus on, who is responsible for both the issue and the solution, and what the solution should be. RASIM were also given little representation by the newspapers present in the sample except for one outlet, while the most attention was granted towards federal and non-federal U.S. officials