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Global Cities and Immigrants

A Comparative Study of Chicago and Madrid


Edited By Francisco Velasco Caballero and María de los Angeles Torres

Global Cities and Immigrants provides a detailed set of comparative case studies of the immigration policies of two global cities undergoing dramatic demographic changes. At the heart of this research are several theoretical questions. One is about the increased importance of municipal and local governments in a globalized world, particularly regarding immigrants. As the world global­izes and national governments attempt to tighten their grip, the failure of national policies to address the needs of new global situations encourages local governments to develop policies that resolve these new conditions. Although immigration is a federal policy in the United States and Spain, city and state governments have increasingly played a role in shaping both the enforcement of national laws and integration experiences of immigrants. This creates a local politics and indeed a legality of immigration that is strongly shaped by local views of economic, political, and security interests, as well as differing perceptions of immigrants’ rights and place in the polity.
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Chapter Ten: Immigrant Associations and Local Politics in Madrid


← 234 | 235 → CHAPTER TEN

Immigrant Associations and Local Politics in Madrid



Political participation constitutes an attribute of citizenship and is linked with the diverse ways in which individuals participate in the collective issues of a community, whether it be by conventional means (to vote or stand as a candidate in elections, participate in parties, trade unions, associations, or other interest groups) or others (protests, demonstrations, hunger strikes, boycotts, etc.).

Of all the dimensions that relate to the political integration of immigrants, in this chapter we dedicate special attention to one in particular: political participation through the constitution of associations and of their dialogue with local government institutions. We therefore analyze the dynamic of the structure of organized interests of these associations and its consequent involvement in public life, investigating the various mechanisms that immigrants employ in order to make their voices heard in the political process.

Despite being only another way to participate politically, an analysis of associative dynamics is of enormous interest for its multitude of functions that can be explored in terms of integration. Drawing closer to this reality allows us to test the involvement of immigrants in the public sphere and in the decision-making processes. This is not only because the associations are key institutions in the phase of first reception and in the maintenance of identity after establishment, but also because they are called upon...

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