The Effects of Naturalization and Documentation Status on the Participation of Latino Immigrants
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, IL; August 28-September 1, 2013
31 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 22, 2017
In recent decades, the number of immigrants in the U.S. has climbed dramatically. Research suggests that the foreign-born, and especially immigrants without citizenship rights, approach American politics with a great deal of uncertainty and ambivalence, which ultimately leads to disengagement from election-year politics, with potentially significant longer-term consequences. Using the 2012 Latino Immigrant National Election Study, a large nationally representative survey conducted in parallel with the 2012 American National Election Study, this paper examines this "disengagement hypothesis." We focus in particular on how formal civic status (i.e., whether an immigrant has citizenship rights, is a legal permanent resident, is a non-citizen but has some form of legal documentation, or is undocumented) influences involvement, both in electoral and non-electoral activities. Multivariate models of participation provide little support for the “disengagement hypothesis,” and for some modes of involvement, non-citizens are actually more engaged than naturalized citizens. This study adds to the growing body of work in political science on how governmental policies shape political behavior and public opinion.
Keywords: immigrants; public opinion; citizenship status
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