October 25, 2007

AMERICAN BEFORE THEY GET HERE:

Between Here and There: How Attached Are Latino Immigrants to Their Native Country? (Roger Waldinger, University of California, Los Angeles, 10/25/07, Pew Hispanic Center)

Most Latino immigrants maintain some kind of connection to their native country by sending remittances, traveling back or telephoning relatives, but the extent of their attachment varies considerably. Only one-in-ten (9%) do all three of these so-called transnational activities; these immigrants can be considered highly attached to their home country. A much larger minority (28%) of foreign-born Latinos is involved in none of these activities and can be considered to have a low level of engagement with the country of origin. Most Latino immigrants (63%) show moderate attachment to their home country; they engage in one or two of these activities.

Latino immigrants who have been in the U.S. for decades and those who arrived as children are less connected than those who arrived more recently or migrated as adults. There are also significant differences by country of origin, with Colombians and Dominicans maintaining more active connections than Mexicans, and with Cubans having the least contact.

Whether Latino immigrants maintain active, moderate or limited connections is an important marker of their attitudes toward the U.S., their native country and their own lives as migrants. Those with the highest levels of engagement have deeper attachments to their country of origin than immigrants whose connections are less robust. They also have more favorable views of their native country in comparisons with the U.S. Nonetheless, a clear majority of even these immigrants see their future in the U.S. rather than in the countries from which they come.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 25, 2007 10:35 AM
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