Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Poilical and Civic Dimensions of Immigrant Integration

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 10:35 AM
Stanford (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Karthick Ramakrishnan, University of California, Riverside
The integration of immigrants and their children also plays out in the civic and political life of the country.  Becoming a U.S. citizen, voting, participating in a parent-teacher association or volunteering at a local food bank can all be seen as markers of integration. Such activities also serve as way-stations to further integration and engagement in U.S. society and politics. Although naturalization is necessary for casting a ballot in almost all parts of the United States, acquiring citizenship does not guarantee political participation. Conversely, non-citizens can be engaged in their communities, for example, by participating in a parent-teacher association. Civic and political integration can occur together, or in distinct steps. Naturalization might spur new Americans to join a local town hall meeting, while an immigrant’s prior participation in a religious faith community may provide the encouragement and assistance necessary to acquire U.S. citizenship or register to vote.