Roundtable: Latino/a Immigration: The Status of Social Services in New Immigrant Communities
(Population and Migration Issues)

Saturday, November 8, 2014: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Isleta (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Jaimie Carboy, University of North Georgia
Moderators:  Matthew Maronick, University of Chicago
Speakers:  Jaimie Carboy, University of North Georgia and Ric Salvatore Kolenda, Appalachian State University

Advancing the Delivery of Social Service Resources in “New Destination” Latino/a Immigrant Communities Latino/a immigrants to the United States have typically congregated in well-established, co-ethnic “haven” communities which tend to ameliorate the negative effects of network dislocation from their country of origin and provide them with various forms of assistance and support (Portes & Rumbaut: 1996). Until the 1990s, the vast majority of Latino/a immigrants to the United States were concentrated in traditional havens such as Arizona and other cities such as New York and Los Angeles. More recently, however, the settlement patterns of Latin American immigrants has experienced significant shifts. Historical patterns of concentration have changed as Latino/a communities have sprung up on the outer rings of major cities--where work options are greater, medium-sized towns are experiencing industrial growth, and in metropolitan areas that have little prior experience with immigrants. Whereas the existing literature has done much to document the movement away from “haven” communities to nontraditional settlement areas, scholarship has yet to identify available social services within these new destinations and catalogue the extent to which immigrants are receiving the services (human services) they require. The lack of social service utilization within the literature is striking where new immigrant groups require human services in much more than their non-Hispanic white neighbors, have lower levels of education, language proficiency, fewer resources available to make themselves self-sufficient, and they are disproportionately living at or below the poverty line (Levin-Epstein & Lyons: 2006). Because Latino/a immigrants are reliant on a host of human services to sustain themselves and their ability to access key resources is correlated with successful community integration, this dearth of knowledge represents a significant gap in Latino/a immigrant scholarship and therefore need be addressed. The literature also should evaluate these services which are coming from: nonprofits that predate the emergence of a Latino/a community; new nonprofits emerging within the Latino/a population; or other sources. This has yet to be comprehensively evaluated. Overall, this study evaluates policies and practices within the nonprofit and public sectors to accommodate Latino/a immigrants with services in their adopted homes. Principally, it addresses the following questions: (1) Are new immigrant nonprofits developing an organizational infrastructure to provide human services to incoming migrants; (2) Are non-ethnic nonprofits that predate the Latino/a community adapting their services to accommodate a changing demographic?; (3) Have the composition of nonprofits and the services disseminated change by region (urban, suburban and rural)?; (4) How can theories of nonprofit adoption and retention (organizational ecology, social capital theory, and economic theory) inform the discussion of how services are provided in immigrant destination spaces? Drawing from research conducted in three distinct new destination areas (suburban, rural and urban) and including interviews with nonprofit programming officers and government agency officials in each of these key regions, this study fills the growing chasm of social service dissemination literature for Latino/as and provides a clear lens into the organizational and political mechanisms driving service delivery.
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