Democracy in Immigrant America: Changing Demographics and Political Participation

By S. Karthick Ramakrishnan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1

Introduction

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants take the oath of citizenship every year. Each has come not only to take but to give. They come asking for a chance to work hard, support their families, and to rise in the world. And together they make our nation more, not less, American.... In the life of an immigrant, citizenship is a defining event. In the life of our nation, new citizens bring renewal.

George W. Bush (Ellis Island, July 10, 2001)

Good people who are living here, working hard, and paying taxes should have a path to equal citiuzenship in the Americam community. And families should be reunited more quickly.

John Kerry (Washington, D.C, June 26, 2004)

Who votes, who does not participate, and why?

For nearly five decades, political scientists have devoted considerable attention to these questions regarding democratic participation in the United States. Questions regarding electoral participation take on increased significance during eras in which there are substantial changes in the size and composition of the electorate—for instance, with the entry of women into electoral participation following suffrage in 1920 (Andersen 1996), with the rise in participation among European immigrants after the New Deal (Erie 1988; Gamm 1989), and with the entry of southern black voters into the electorate following the civil

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