LatinaLista — The purpose of each and every punitive immigration related piece of legislation that has been passed on state and national levels have more to do with trying to drive out undocumented immigrants than regulate the situation.
However, a new report released today found that, much to the disappointment of the authors of these immigration bills, their intent is having the opposite effect on the undocumented population.
Context Matters: Latino Immigrant Civic Engagement in Nine U.S. Cities, by the Project on Latino Immigrant Civic Engagement at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars reveals that all these harsh legislative actions have created stronger ties between U.S. Latino citizens and the legal and undocumented immigrants.
Something that wasn’t the norm before the spate of anti-Latino immigrant fervor.
Some of the revealing findings of the study are:
Currently, there is no national integration policy and local and state governments face the need to design their own programs to encourage immigrants to become civically engaged and participate more fully in their new societies.
Cities with a historically established Spanish-language media structure tend to have strong partnerships between these media and service and immigrant advocacy organizations in the joint promotion of civic engagement.
As a general trend and regardless of size, cities with historical traditions of Latino immigration, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Fresno, and San Jose, are more likely to address the needs of new Latino immigrants than places with smaller historical flows like Charlotte, Omaha, the Washington, DC metropolitan area, and Las Vegas.
There was found an emerging Latino youth organizing network led by both U.S.- and foreign- born immigrants.
In addition to the study…
nine other reports were published earlier on nine cities assessing their immigrant civic participation — Charlotte, Chicago, Fresno, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Omaha, San Jose, Tucson and Washington, D.C..
“The debate over whether to regularize (by encouraging citizenship) or expel undocumented people, hides the question of the status of the legal permanent Latino population — millions of whom are eligible to apply for citizenship but have not done so,” said Jonathan Fox , a professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
He noted that after Congress, during the Reagan Administration, passed immigration reform it made $4 billion available to states and cities for English classes, civic studies and other programs aimed at assisting immigrants in achieving citizenship. “Few of those programs get meaningful public support today,” he said.
For that reason churches, non-profits, corporate America and individuals have stepped into fulfilling those needs that, by the latest anecdotal information, are not diminishing but increasing to the point where waiting lists for English and citizenship classes are now common — and underscore the fact that all these immigrants whom legislators are trying to drive out already feel like they belong here and are taking the final steps to solidify their relationship with the U.S.
Context Matters: Latino Immigrant Civic Engagement in Nine U.S. Cities is also available in Spanish.