A Comparative Study of Chicago and Madrid
Edited By Francisco Velasco Caballero and María de los Angeles Torres
Comparative Notes on Political Participation of Immigrants in the United States and Spain
XÓCHITL BADA, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO CARMEN NAVARRO, AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY OF MADRID SUSANA SÁNCHEZ FERRO, AUTONOMOUS UNIVERSITY OF MADRID
Political participation is essential to democracy. Traditionally, political rights were linked to nationality. However, the migratory phenomenon has led to certain changes. Political participation of immigrants in their host country is fundamental for their social integration. Naturalization of immigrants has increased in the U.S. and Spain, but naturalization alone is not enough to achieve this aim of social integration. On the one hand, it is not always easy to acquire the nationality of the host country. In Spain, for example, the law requires ten year’s, residence and foreigners must waive their nationality of origin (save nationals of Latin American countries and nationals of other countries with a special link to Spain, who may acquire the Spanish nationality after two years’ residence without losing their own nationality). On the other hand, as the work of Bada reflects, naturalization alone is not enough to trigger civic engagement and political participation.
There is a consensus in the three preceding chapters that the intensity of the link between foreigners and their social network is an essential element when it comes to the political participation of immigrants. The social and political context of the host country also plays an important role in this issue. In Spain, for example, some foreigners have been given the right to vote and the right of passive suffrage in local...
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