Chapter

Migrant Civic Engagement

Jonathan Fox and Xóchitl Bada

in Rallying for Immigrant Rights

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267541
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948914 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520267541.003.0007
Migrant Civic Engagement

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The spring 2006 wave of immigrant rights mass mobilizations represents a watershed in the history of civic engagement in the United States. Practitioners involved in the policy debate, scholars who measure immigrant political opinion, and migrant leaders themselves were all caught off guard. This raises questions about the social foundations of the marches—what kinds of social and civic practices, networks and organizations made them possible? To provide at least part of the answer, this chapter introduces the concepts of civic binationality and migrant civil society, which provide frameworks for understanding the already existing patterns of migrant organization that came together at this unusual historical turning point. The point of departure here is that, at least for many adult migrants, their initiation into civic life either takes place in their country of origin or is oriented toward their country of origin. The 2006 protests constitute a powerful indicator that millions of immigrants have been fully transplanted into the U.S. public sphere, followed by subsequent increases in naturalization and voter turnout among “new Americans” in 2008.

Keywords: United States; protests; immigrant rights; mass mobilizations; civic engagement; civic binationality; migrant civil society; immigrants; naturalization; voter turnout

Chapter.  8077 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Migration Studies

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