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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Immigrant Organizing, Civic Outcomes: Civic Engagement, Political Activity, National Attachment, and Identity in Latino Immigrant Communities


This paper assesses the influence of Latino participation in community-based organizations on the likelihood of participation in community politics, on attachments to the United States and their countries of origin, and on their ethnic identity. The results provide two insights. Organizational activity spurs civic engagement. The skills, networks, and information provided through this group-focused community activity vest Latinos with the resources they need to take on more individualist forms of politics. The second finding is that the influence of organizational activities does not shape attitudes. While organizations undeniably offer contacts with other individuals and networks, these resources do not drive attitudes toward either the United States or a pan-ethnic identity. The paper relies on data from a survey of "emerging" Latino populations, Latinos who trace their origin or ancestry to El Salvador, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, or Colombia.

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