Immigration_ Naturalization_ and Latino Empowerment

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					Naturalization and Mexican
 American Empowerment

 Mexican Americans and Politics
          Lecture 15
       February 28, 2006
                  Exam – Thursday
   Two essays of which you will need to answer
       You may bring one 3x5 card with notes – no
       You will have the entire period, so use a few
        minutes to outline your answer
   Strong answers will find evidence from both
    the readings and class
   No need to bring a blue book
   We prefer answers in pen
     From Last Time

Mexican American Influence
 in State and Local Politics
               Recall and Mexican
               American Influence
   Review – Mexican American/Latino influence
    occurs when
       Mexican Americans/Latinos are unified
       Other electorates are divided
   2003 California recall election
       Latinos divided (on recall)
       Electorate as a whole more unified (on recall
        and replacement)
         Recall, By Race/Ethnicity
             Latinos      Whites       Blacks   Asian

Recall       46%          60%          27%      No data

No Recall 54%             40%          73%      No data

         Source: Los Angeles Times, exit poll
                  Governor, by
                    Latinos        Whites   Blacks

Schwarzenegger      31%            52%      17%

Bustamante          52%            28%      64%

McClintock          9%             13%      6%

  Source: Los Angeles Times, exit poll
                 Urban Politics:
             Los Angeles Case Study
   Minority exclusion (1961-1973)
       White-led coalition denied political opportunities to Blacks
        and other minorities
   The Bradley Coalition (1973-1993)
       Blacks, Latinos, liberal whites (particularly Jews)
       Coalition declined as each group sought leadership
   Riordan and Hahn (1993-2005)
       Business-led coalitions
       Minority communities divided, internally and from each
         The 2005 Mayoral Race(s)
   Primary – Group/region/ideology all
    represented to varying degrees
       Race/Ethnicity
       Valley vs. Non-Valley
       Moderate vs. Liberal Democrats
       With so many candidates (5), little incentive to
        build coalitions at first
   In runoff, winner had to reach beyond his
    own race/ethnic group
           Race/Ethnic Voting Los
          Angeles Mayoral Primary
          Alarcon   Hahn      Hertzberg Parks      Villa-

Whites     3%        23%        36%          5%    27%

Blacks     2%        23%          5%        54%    15%

Latinos    9%        17%          7%         3%   64%

Asians       -      59%          12%         8%    19%
           Source: Los Angeles Times, Exit Poll
   Race/Ethnic Voting Los
   Angeles Mayoral Runoff
                     Hahn                  Villaraigosa

Whites                50%                     50%

Blacks               52%                      48%

Latinos               16%                    84%

Asian                56%                      44%
    Source: Los Angeles Times, exit poll
            Was This an Example of
             Raw Latino Power?
   Not really – Latinos had supported
    Villaraigosa strongly in 2001
   What changed was division in non-Latino
       Whites split their votes evenly
       Young Blacks and Black leaders supported
        Villaraigosa (and, so, the Black vote split)
   Asian American electorate is the outlier
    Will the Los Angeles Experience
    Reappear in Other U.S. Cities?
   No, at least in the short term
       Multiracial political coalitions are hard to form
       And, harder to sustain
   When multiracial coalitions have formed, blacks
    have generally led
       Latino and Asian Americans most underrepresented in
   2001, 2003, 2005—New York and Houston
       Latino candidates defeated despite Latino
        majorities/pluralities in city population
       Latino candidates defeated by undermining their White
    Today’s Lecture

Naturalization and Mexican
    American Political
              Trends in Mexican
            American Naturalization
   Historically, few Mexican immigrants naturalized
   Today, many more do
       But, they still naturalize at lower rates than most other
   Why
       SES
       Proximity
       Lack of obvious benefits
       Complexity of application process
       Absence of community-based assistance

 800,000                                    Naturalizations
 400,000                                    Immigrant

            1981 1986 1991 1996 2001 2004
            Do Mexican Immigrants
             Want to Naturalize?
   Best evidence – answer is yes
       Approximately 15 percent of all Mexican
        immigrant adults report no interest in naturalizing
   Behavioral evidence
       Approximately, 2/3 of eligible have done
        something concrete to naturalize
   Yet, only half of those who try, succeed
                       Why the Gap?
   Confusion
       Fear of consequences of failure
       Concern about loss of home-country citizenship
   Bureaucracy
       Form complex
       INS impenetrable
   Cost
   Absence of community-level assistance
       Naturalization often a collective experience
       Resources available 1996-1998 are no longer
             Why The Change in the
                 Late 1990s?
   Changes in the law
       1996 Welfare and Immigration Reform bills
       IRCA beneficiaries become eligible for citizenship
   Changes in the attitude toward immigrants
       Proposition 187
       Rhetoric of Pat Buchanan and the nativist right
   Changes in administration
       Requirement to replace aging green cards
       Government promotion of naturalization
   But, Mexican American naturalization has slowed
    since 1999, or so
    Naturalization and Mexican
      American Participation
   Do the naturalized vote at higher rates than the
    native born?
       No, but possible exception in California among registered
        voters (see Barreto article assigned for today)
   Why?
       Participation requires political socialization and adult
        migrants have had less
       Political institutions don’t mobilize new citizens
       When immigrant issues top the agenda, this dynamic can
          Themes to Consider for
1.   Importance of historical exclusion/discrimination
     on the current shape of Mexican American politics
2.   Immigration/tension over immigration as an
     ongoing dynamic of change in Mexican American
3.   The shape and possible trajectories of Mexican
     American (and by extension Latino) electoral
4.   Opportunities for Mexican American political
     influence/comparison of the various races we read
     about and discussed

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