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Immigration

RSF Grantees and Scholars at International Migration Review Symposium

August 27, 2014

On September 30, 2014, several RSF grantees and scholars will deliver remarks at a symposium marking the fiftieth anniversary of the International Migration Review. Symposium participants include former RSF visiting scholar Jennifer Lee (UC Irvine), incoming scholar Richard Alba (CUNY Graduate Center), grantee Nancy Foner (CUNY Graduate Center and Hunter College), and grantee Katharine Donato (Vanderbilt).

Co-edited by Jennifer Lee, the anniversary issue of IMR features a collection of multidisciplinary articles that explore persisting and emerging topics and trends in the field of international migration. At the all-day symposium, Lee will moderate a panel discussion, “Diversity of Outcomes in Destination Societies,” where participants Alba, Foner, and Donato will present papers on a range of topics including a comparative study of immigration to North America and Western Europe and an investigation of how gender and marital status affect the global labor force.

Former Visiting Scholar Ramakrishnan Appointed to California Commission on APIA Affairs

August 5, 2014

Former RSF Visiting Scholar and grantee Karthick Ramakrishnan (University of California, Riverside) has just been appointed to the California Commission on Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs. The Commission works to elevate the political, economic, and social issues of Asians and Pacific Islanders by contributing to and strengthening how state government addresses the needs, issues, and concerns of the diverse and complex Asian and Pacific Islander American communities.

In his time in residence at the Foundation, Ramakrishnan examined immigrant civic engagement and its implications for social and political inequality in several U.S. and Canadian cities. He looked at at immigrant participation in mainstream and ethnic organizations, asking whether such behavior serves as a way for immigrants to combat inequality and improve their social position. With Irene Bloemraad, he co-authored the RSF publication Civic Hopes and Political Realities, which explores these same themes.

Ramakrishnan is additionally a former research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and holds memberships in the Association of Asian American Studies and the University of California Asian American and Pacific Islander Policy Multicampus Research Program.

Mass Deportations and Latino Voters

May 20, 2014

With the Foundation’s support, political scientists Alex Street and Chris Zepeda-Millán, in collaboration with Michael Jones-Correa, conducted an online survey of more than 1200 second generation Latinos to test whether socialization experiences are shaped by the responses of parents, children, and other political actors to the unique situation of U.S. citizens with undocumented parents. Among other consequences, they explore the effects of knowledge of deportations among second generation Latinos, especially on the evaluations of Democratic and Republican parties.

They “find that when young Latino citizens become aware of the Obama administration’s deportation policies, they view the Democratic Party as significantly less welcoming. Given that partisan attachments formed by young adulthood tend to persist through voters’ lives, this suggests that current deportation policies have the potential to alienate Latino voters from the Democratic Party for decades.”

Disaster Recovery and the Vietnamese Community in New Orleans

April 22, 2014

This feature is part of a new RSF blog series, Work in Progress, which highlights some of the ongoing research of our current class of Visiting Scholars.

The damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina unevenly impacted the residents of New Orleans along racial and class lines. While many scholars and politicians have focused on the lack of federal aid to low-income black neighborhoods in the wake of the disaster, Visiting Scholar Mark VanLandingham’s research examines a lesser known community—that of the Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in New Orleans in the 1970s. In his time in residence at the Foundation, VanLandingham is investigating the sources and limits of resilience within the Vietnamese American community in New Orleans, with a special focus on the community’s recovery during the post-Katrina era.

In a new interview with the Foundation, VanLandingham discussed the impact of the hurricane on this community, looking in particular at the combination of cultural and material advantages that may have aided the disaster recovery of the Vietnamese.

Q. Your research examines the Vietnamese immigrant community, which was largely overlooked in the post-disaster coverage of Hurricane Katrina. You found that overall this group fared better than other groups in the recovery. How do we measure “recovery” and what did the Vietnamese community’s post-disaster recovery look like in comparison to other groups in New Orleans?

RSF Author Catherine Lee Discusses the Role of Families in U.S. Immigration Policies, Past and Present

January 16, 2014

Today, roughly 70 percent of all visas for legal immigration are reserved for family members of permanent residents or American citizens. Family reunification—policies that seek to preserve family unity during or following migration—is a central pillar of current immigration law, but it has existed in some form in American statutes since at least the mid-nineteenth century. In her 2013 RSF book, Fictive Kinship: Family Reunification and the Meaning of Race and Nation in American Immigration, sociologist Catherine Lee delves into the fascinating history of family reunification to examine how and why our conceptions of family have shaped immigration, the meaning of race, and the way we see ourselves as a country.

In a new interview with the Foundation, Lee discusses some of the groundbreaking research from her book and offers recommendations for future immigration policies. To learn more about Fictive Kinship or to purchase a copy, click here.

Q. As you point out in your book, family reunification has long been a guiding theme of U.S. immigration policy and has significantly influenced the changing demographics of the country. Can you give some examples of how family reunification policies have shaped the way we think about race and ethnicity in the U.S. today?

A Chance for Immigration Reform in the New Year

January 10, 2014

In a move that could signal the end of the deadlock on immigration reform that stifled Congress for the better part of 2013, Speaker of the House John Boehner has indicated his willingness to address immigration laws. As the New York Times reports, though Boehner continues to voice reservations about a single, comprehensive bill to create additional pathways to U.S. citizenship, he also condemned the hardline stance of conservative Tea Party groups opposed to any immigration compromises.

Republicans have increasingly struggled to find a balance between appeasing their conservative constituents while also attempting to court Latino voters. According to the New York Times, Romney won only 27% of the Latino vote in the 2012 presidential election due to his views on immigration. But the Democratic Party has also suffered for its failure to implement significant immigration reform. A September 2013 Pew study showed that the Obama administration deported more immigrants annually than the George W. Bush administration, and that 59% of Latinos disapproved of Obama’s handling of deportations.

The 2013 RSF book Immigration, Poverty and Socioeconomic Inequality, co-edited by David Card and Steven Raphael, explores the rapid rise in immigration to the U.S. since the 1960s and analyzes the economic and political shifts that have occurred as a result of this increase—including changes in the national poverty rate, labor market fluctuations, and the evolution of immigration policies. In his chapter, “Immigration Enforcement as a Race-Making Institution,” sociologist Douglas Massey traces the surge in deportations, border patrol budgets, and border enforcement agents over the last several decades:

Working Paper: Immigrant Assimilation into U.S. Prisons, 1900-1930

June 6, 2013

With the Foundation's support, Carolyn Moehling and Anne Morrison Piehl have released a working paper on historical patterns of immigrant incarceration. Here is the abstract:

The analysis of a new dataset on state prisoners in the 1900 to 1930 censuses reveals that immigrants rapidly assimilated to native incarceration patterns. One feature of these data is that the second generation can be identified, allowing direct analysis of this group and allowing their exclusion from calculations of comparison rates for the “native” population. Although adult new arrivals were less likely than natives to be incarcerated, this likelihood was increasing with their years in the U.S. The foreign born who arrived as children and second generation immigrants had slightly higher rates of incarceration than natives of native parentage, but these differences disappear after controlling for nativity differences in urbanicity and occupational status. Finally, while the incarceration rates of new arrivals differ significantly by source country, patterns of assimilation are very similar.

New Research Studies Impact of Religious Groups on Immigrants

April 11, 2013

Religious and nonreligious organizations may have a similar impact on the ability of immigrants to acclimate to life in the U.S., despite the organizations’ different motivations for providing charitable services, according to new research from Rice University and the Russell Sage Foundation.

“There’s been a lot of discussion as to whether religious organizations offer some special or unique benefit to immigrant groups that will help them better adapt to American society,” said the study’s lead author, Elaine Howard Ecklund, the Herbert S. Autrey Professor of Sociology and director of Rice’s Religion and Public Life Program. “We wanted to see at the organizational level whether there was any practical difference between these two groups.”

The study examined the behavior of two Mexican-American organizations, one religious and one nonreligious. The two groups identified different motivations for providing job placement, language and financial services to immigrants: The religious organization said its religious convictions necessitated service to the local community, whereas the nonreligious organization cited its commitment to at-risk groups. However, the study showed that there was was little difference in the impact of the two organizations – both sought to provide outreach and services to their respective communities.

The study’s co-author, Michael Emerson, the Allyn and Gladys Cline Professor of Sociology and Kinder Institute co-director, noted that although there is little difference between the organizations at the present time, that may change in the future.

“There may be significant changes as these organizations deal with second- and third-generation Mexican-Americans,” Emerson said. “These individuals might have different concerns, so the mission and services provided by these organizations very well may change.”

The Political Socialization of Adolescent Children of Immigrants

April 11, 2013

Social Science Quarterly has published a new RSF-funded paper that examines the politics of adolescent children of immigrants in the United States. Written by Melissa Humphries, Chandra Muller and Kathryn Schiller, the study "aims to evaluate the adolescent political socialization processes that predict political participation in young adulthood, and whether these processes are different for children of immigrants compared to white third-plus-generation adolescents." Here is a summary:

Methods
We use a nationally representative longitudinal survey of adolescents to evaluate the predictors of three measures of political participation—voter registration, voting, and political party identification—and whether the process leading to political participation varies by immigrant status and race/ethnic group.

Results
We find that the parental education level of adolescents is not as predictive for many minority children of immigrants compared to white children of native-born parents for registration. Additionally, the academic rigor of the courses taken in high school has a greater positive estimated effect on the likelihood of registration and party identification for Latino children of immigrants compared to white third-plus-generation young adults.

Conclusions
The process of general integration into U.S. society for adolescent children of immigrants may lead to differing pathways to political participation in young adulthood, with certain aspects of their schooling experience having particular importance in developing political participation behaviors.

The Diversity of Hispanic Populations in the United States

March 21, 2013

John Logan and Richard Turner have released a new U.S. 2010 report entitled "Hispanics in the United States: Not Only Mexicans." Here is the executive summary:

This report summarizes what is known about the sizes, social backgrounds and locations of each major Hispanic group. We emphasize the differences among them at the neighborhood level in the extent of their segregation from other groups, and the degree to which they form separate residential enclaves in the metropolis.

Analyses of the most recent data show how important are the differences among these Hispanic groups:

  • While Mexicans continue to be about 60% of the Hispanic population, growth of Puerto Ricans and Cubans lags behind and the New Latino groups are gaining much faster. The extreme case is Hondurans, up nearly 400% since 1990 and now numbering over 600,000. Except for Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, a large majority of all other groups (over 60%) is foreign-born. However the share of immigrants who arrived in the last decade is lower than it was ten years ago.
  • The socioeconomic ladder of groups shows advantages for Cubans (long considered an advantaged minority) but also for Puerto Ricans and South Americans. Other groups are more similar to Mexicans, with Guatemalans an extreme case of low education, low wages, and high poverty.
  • Each Hispanic group has its own pattern of regional concentration, including especially the Southwest, Northeast, and Chicago. The main trend over time is for dispersion from the
    metropolitan regions that historically housed the most group members.
  • Hispanic segregation from whites is dominated by the moderately high segregation of Mexicans, which has not changed since 1990. Dominicans and Central Americans are considerably more separated, while South Americans are more spatially assimilated. The striking finding is that all groups aside from Mexicans have become much less segregated
    over time.
  • Hispanics overall live in neighborhoods with poorer and less educated residents than do non-Hispanic whites. But South Americans are relatively advantaged and Dominicans are in the worst position. A positive trend is the increasing share of neighbors with college education, which reflects a national trend toward higher education levels.
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