From Latin American immigrant to "Hispanic" citizen: The role of social capital in seeking US citizenship

Citation
Sg. Baker et M. Espitia, From Latin American immigrant to "Hispanic" citizen: The role of social capital in seeking US citizenship, SOC SCI Q, 81(4), 2000, pp. 1053-1063
Citations number
27
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Sociology & Antropology
Journal title
SOCIAL SCIENCE QUARTERLY
ISSN journal
0038-4941 → ACNP
Volume
81
Issue
4
Year of publication
2000
Pages
1053 - 1063
Database
ISI
SICI code
0038-4941(200012)81:4<1053:FLAIT">2.0.ZU;2-4
Abstract
Objective. Burgeoning citizenship rates in the past five years are attribut able to an increased propensity to naturalize among more recent cohorts fro m developing countries, particularly from Latin America. We evaluate the in tention to naturalize for a key subgroup of Latin American immigrants: thos e who adjusted to legal status via the main legalization program of the 198 6 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). Methods. We merge 3,117 respon ses from the 1989 and 1992 wave of the Legalized Person Survey (LPS) with a data set we have constructed on characteristics of the eighty-three Metrop olitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in which the respondents resided. We then e stimate the probability of an LPS respondent expressing the intention to se ek U.S. citizenship. Results. Our analyses indicate that social capital rep ertoires, measured as linkages to a variety of home and host country instit utions, have significant effects on the likelihood that Latin American immi grants intend to become U.S. citizens, with capital and social investments in sending communities reducing those intentions, and capital and social in vestments anchored in the United States enhancing naturalization aspiration s. Conclusions. While financial and social investments in the home country reduce the odds of intending to naturalize for IRCA beneficiaries, financia l and social connections to the United States are substantial and facilitat e the plan to become U.S. citizens. These aspirations are further facilitat ed by the ways in which Latin American immigrants are situated in geographi c space in metropolitan U.S. communities.