There are few places in the United States like California, where immigration has had a sustained and profound effect on society and politics. In the past decade, the state has not only witnessed various ballot propositions relating to immigrants but has also seen the rise of various elected officials who are first-generation immigrants, with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger among them. The Public Policy Institute of California has been a wonderful place to work on issues of immigration, race, and ethnicity. Working across the street from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services provides me with a daily reminder of the demographic and political transformations currently under way in the United States. I hope that this book sheds some light on the significant and growing role of immigrants and their descendants in the American electorate.
I thank the many friends, colleagues, and mentors who gave me guidance over the years that it took to research and write this book. My first thanks go to my parents, Tarakad and Rani Ramakrishnan. I owe my education and this book to their loving guidance and their decision to leave India and start a new life halfway across the globe. Next, I thank Larry Bartels, Jennifer Hochschild, Thomas Espenshade, and Eric Oliver—my graduate advisors at Princeton University, who prodded me to improve my arguments and defend my claims. I also thank the various institutions and programs that have made this book possible. Princeton University provided four years of financial support for coursework and research, and Harvard University offered one year of support through its Visiting Fellows program. At Princeton, the Office of Population Research was a great interdisciplinary environment in