Bridging the gap: Transnational and ethnic organizations in the political incorporation of immigrants in the United States

  • Portes A
  • Escobar C
  • Arana R
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Clear article that disputes that organisations focusing on the situation in home countries, hamper political integration. This study was prompted by concerns about the ways in which immigrant organizations, especially those of a transnational character, may retard or prevent political integration among recent migrants to the United States. For this purpose, we constructed an inventory of all organizations created by Colombian, Dominican and Mexican immigrants in the United States, interviewed leaders of the twenty largest organizations from each group in person, and conducted a survey of 178 additional organizations by telephone or Internet. Results reveal a near-absence of perceived conflict between transnational activism and political incorporation. Almost without exception, leaders asserted that there was no contradiction between home-country loyalties and activities and {US} citizenship and voting. These results appear to reflect genuine conviction, rather than any social desirability syndrome. Objective indicators show that most organizations maintain close ties with {US} political authorities at various levels and engage in a number of {US-focused} civic and political activities. Determinants of such engagement are examined. Implications of the results for theory and public policy are discussed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Ethnocentrism
  • Human capital
  • Incorporation
  • Latin Americans
  • Organizations
  • Transnationalism

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  • Alejandro Portes

  • Cristina Escobar

  • Renelinda Arana

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