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Transforming Politics, Transforming America

Transforming Politics, Transforming America: The Political and Civic Incorporation of Immigrants in the United States

Taeku Lee
S. Karthick Ramakrishnan
Ricardo Ramírez
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Transforming Politics, Transforming America
    Book Description:

    Over the past four decades, the foreign-born population in the United States has nearly tripled, from about 10 million in 1965 to more than 30 million today. This wave of new Americans comes in disproportionately large numbers from Latin America and Asia, a pattern that is likely to continue in this century. In Transforming Politics, Transforming America, editors Taeku Lee, S. Karthick Ramakrishnan, and Ricardo Ramírez bring together the newest work of prominent scholars in the field of immigrant political incorporation to provide the first comprehensive look at the political behavior of immigrants.Focusing on the period from 1965 to the year 2020, this volume tackles the fundamental yet relatively neglected questions, What is the meaning of citizenship, and what is its political relevance? How are immigrants changing our notions of racial and ethnic categorization? How is immigration transforming our understanding of mobilization, participation, and political assimilation? With an emphasis on research that brings innovative theory, quantitative methods, and systematic data to bear on such questions, this volume presents a provocative evidence-based examination of the consequences that these demographic changes might have for the contemporary politics of the United States as well as for the concerns, categories, and conceptual frameworks we use to study race relations and ethnic politics.

    Contributors Bruce Cain (University of California, Berkeley) * Grace Cho (University of Michigan) * Jack Citrin (University of California, Berkeley) * Louis DeSipio (University of California, Irvine) * Brendan Doherty (University of California, Berkeley) * Lisa García Bedolla (University of California, Irvine) * Zoltan Hajnal (University of California, San Diego) * Jennifer Holdaway (Social Science Research Council) * Jane Junn (Rutgers University) * Philip Kasinitz (City University of New York) * Taeku Lee (University of California, Berkeley) * John Mollenkopf (City University of New York) * Tatishe Mavovosi Nteta (University of California, Berkeley) * Kathryn Pearson (University of Minnesota) * Kenneth Prewitt (Columbia University) * S. Karthick Ramakrishnan (University of California, Riverside) * Ricardo Ramírez (University of Southern California) * Mary Waters (Harvard University) * Cara Wong (University of Michigan) * Janelle Wong (University of Southern California)

    eISBN: 978-0-8139-3420-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)
    Taeku Lee, S. Karthick Ramakrishnan and Ricardo Ramírez

    The idea of America as a “nation of immigrants” harkens to well before the country’s founding, with thousands of settlers and slaves pouring into the Colonies from England, continental Europe, and Africa. As the epigraphs from Franklin and Crèvecoeur suggest, there has been little consensus throughout our history on the consequences of this idea of a nation of immigrants. The concept has often embodied competing visions of the desirability of immigration and its likely why should the Palatine boors be suffered to swarm into our settlement, and, by herding together, establish their language and manners, to the exclusion of ours?...

  5. Part 1 The Fundamentals of Measurement

    • Immigrants and the Changing Categories of Race
      (pp. 19-31)
      Kenneth Prewitt

      The study of immigration has its distinct vocabulary—incorporation, assimilation, mobilization, coalitions, conflict, identity, and so forth. The terms in play touch on the broad question of whether ethnic and racial boundaries are being hardened or blurred, and to what extent the recent immigrant flows contribute to some mixture of these outcomes. The small contribution I offer is the reminder that the boundaries themselves, or at least their accessibility to research, rest on the way in which official statistics label population groups—starting even with the labels foreign born and native born.

      Subdividing the population is as old as census...

    • Mobilizing Group Consciousness When Does Ethnicity Have Political Consequences?
      (pp. 32-48)
      Jane Junn

      On any weekend between early spring and late fall in New York City, a celebration of identity marching on Fifth or Madison Avenues can be witnessed. “Kiss Me I’m Irish” buttons mark the beginning of the season of the mass display of group identification at the most venerable of parades on St. Patrick’s Day. Italians, another of the earlier immigrant groups to New York, hold two large public celebrations, the Columbus Day parade and a stationary festival in Little Italy at the Feast of St. Anthony. Newer immigrant groups have followed suit with their own commemorations, including Puerto Rican Day...

  6. Part 2 Citizenship: Here and Abroad

    • Rethinking Citizenship Noncitizen Voting and Immigrant Political Engagement in the United States
      (pp. 51-70)
      Lisa García Bedolla

      In June 2003, the Office of the Inspector General in the Justice Department released a report documenting the treatment of post-9/11 detainees held in New York and New Jersey. The report found that both the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made little distinction between detainees who were being held under suspicion of terrorist ties and those who happened to be captured as a result of FBI sweeps, and that detainees’ conditions were “excessively restrictive and unduly harsh.” The Inspector General’s December 2003 supplemental report focusing on allegations of prisoner abuse found that detainees were...

    • Jus Meritum Citizenship for Service
      (pp. 71-88)
      Cara Wong and Grace Cho

      According to scholars of citizenship, there are two main principles that have been used by nations to decide citizenship (and nationality): lineage and land (Aleinikoff and Klusmeyer 2001, Faulks 2000, Heater 1999, Kondo 2001, Shafir 1998).Jus sanguinis, or “right of blood,” refers to a law of descent, whereby citizenship is accrued from one’s parents.¹Jus soli, or “right of the soil,” refers to the method of granting citizenship to an individual born in the territory of the state. These two principles are often placed in sharp contrast, with Germany as an exemplar of a nation of descent based on...

    • The Impact Of Dual Nationality on Political Participation
      (pp. 89-105)
      Bruce Cain and Brendan Doherty

      Global economic forces and new regional political arrangements are changing our conceptions of citizenship and nationality.¹ More nations now offer opportunities for dual nationality than before. Regional agreements such as the European Union give foreign nationals employment and travel rights that were previously granted to citizens only. So-called “cosmopolitans” go so far as to tout the ideal of borderless societies and question the relevance of national identities altogether. But what are the practical effects of granting individuals multiple nationality rights? Are U. S. citizens with dual nationality, for instance, any different from other citizens in their commitment to civic duties...

    • Transnational Politics and Civic Engagement Do Home-Country Political Ties Limit Latino Immigrant Pursuit of U.S. Civic Engagement and Citizenship?
      (pp. 106-126)
      Louis DeSipio

      Over the past decade, the number of immigrants naturalizing in the United States has surged. According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, naturalizations grew from an average of 146,000 annually in the 1970s, to 221,000 annually in the 1980s, to 562,000 annually in the 1990s. In the years since 1996—the beginning of the contemporary surge—the number of immigrants naturalizing annually averages 650,000.

      The origins of this steady increase in naturalization are several. While there are particular shocks and enhanced incentives that appear periodically (Portes and Stepik 1993, DeSipio 1996a),...

  7. Part 3 After Citizenship: Party Identification and Mobilization

    • Out of Line Immigration and Party Identification among Latinos and Asian Americans
      (pp. 129-150)
      Zoltan Hajnal and Taeku Lee

      Much of the burgeoning literature on contemporary immigrant political incorporation is motivated by careful theory and analysis on how today’s political parties compare with those of yesteryear (e.g., see Jones-Correa 1998a; Rogers 2000b; Wong 2000a; Gerstle and Mollenkopf 2001; Ramírez 2002; Lien, Conway, and Wong 2004; Ramírez and Wong, this volume). For the most part, the scholars behind these works conclude that today’s parties lack the organizational capacity, the cultural literacy, and perhaps even the political motivation to shepherd new immigrants into the political process and nurture secure attachments with a particular political party. Even before the current spate of...

    • Nonpartisan Latino and Asian American Contactability and Voter Mobilization
      (pp. 151-172)
      Ricardo Ramírez and Janelle Wong

      An inclusive political system is arguably one of the hallmarks of a democratic society. Yet Asian Americans and Latinos, two of the fastest growing segments of the American population, consistently demonstrate the lowest turnout rates of the major ethnic or racial groups (Jamieson, Shin, and Day 2002). According to the Current Population Survey, 43 percent of Asian American citizens and 45 percent of Latino citizens of voting age turned out in the 2000 presidential election, compared to 62 percent of non-Latino whites and 57 percent of non-Latino blacks (Jamieson, Shin, and Day 2002). Research on Asian American and Latino political...

  8. Part 4 Portents for the Future

    • Politics among Young Adults in New York The Immigrant Second Generation
      (pp. 175-193)
      John Mollenkopf, Jennifer Holdaway, Philip Kasinitz and Mary Waters

      Attempts by new immigrant ethnic groups to gain entry into a political establishment dominated by earlier ethnic groups has been a central story in the politics of New York and many other large old American cities. Established groups have viewed these attempts as threatening to destabilize prevailing electoral arrangements and even jeopardizing their hold on elected offices and the benefits that flow from them. For their part, many newcomers thought that unresponsive incumbents deserved to be challenged, though some newcomers certainly sought upward mobility within the existing framework (Shefter 1994, chapter 6). These interactions between older and newer ethnic groups...

    • Plus Ça Change, Plus C’est la Même Chose? An Examination of the Racial Attitudes of New Immigrants in the United States
      (pp. 194-216)
      Tatishe Mavovosi Nteta

      The influx of new immigrants since 1965 has led to a burgeoning literature in the social sciences that contrasts the political incorporation of a new wave of immigrants, from Asia and Latin America, with previous waves of immigrants from Europe in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. “Indeed, whether it is stated explicitly or not, today’s discussion of immigrant incorporation is rife with comparisons to what we know, or imagine that we know, about the experiences of the pre-1924 immigrants” (DeWind and Kasinitz 1997). The central debate in the literature revolves around the question of whether new immigrants are incorporating...

    • The Political Assimilation of the Fourth Wave
      (pp. 217-242)
      Kathryn Pearson and Jack Citrin

      As a nation of immigrants, the United States has always confronted the challenge of balancing unity and diversity. By bringing strangers into one’s land, to use John Higham’s evocative phrase (1985), largescale immigration poses a potential threat to the sense of shared identity that is the foundation of nationhood. When America faced this challenge as a result of European immigration in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, intense political conflicts arose over how many and what sort of immigrants to allow into the country and how to absorb the cultural outsiders who had already arrived. By abolishing the racist national...

    • But Do They Bowl? Race, Immigrant Incorporation, and Civic Voluntarism in the United States
      (pp. 243-260)
      S. Karthick Ramakrishnan

      The relationships between race, immigrant incorporation, and voting participation in the United States are by now well established. Studies based on state-and national-level datasets have shown that first-generation immigrants are generally less likely to vote in elections than those in higher immigrant generations are. Furthermore, factors related to immigration such as length of stay in the United States, English-language ability, and country of origin characteristics all bear a significant relationship to voting participation (DeSipio 1996a, Cho 1999, Ramakrishnan and Espenshade 2001, Citrin and Highton 2002, Ramakrishnan 2005). More recently, a few studies have begun to consider the relationships between race,...

  9. Conclusions
    (pp. 261-270)
    Taeku Lee, S. Karthick Ramakrishnan and Ricardo Ramírez

    This volume starts with a simple observation. The study of immigrant adaptation has, until now, been dominated more by questions of economic, social, and cultural adjustment than of civic and political incorporation. This volume aims to bring us closer to an understanding of the political life of Latinos, Asian Americans, and other new immigrants to the United States. Its contributors have examined the shifting boundaries of ethnoracial classification and citizenship status; questioned the links from collective identity to group politics; analyzed the multiple dimensions of dual citizenship and transnational politics; brought new data, methods, and frameworks to bear on the...

  10. References
    (pp. 271-298)
  11. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 299-300)
  12. Index
    (pp. 301-307)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 308-308)