Publication by DPDF 2014 Immigrants and their Homeland Connections: Transnationalism in Historical Perspective Research Director Roger Waldinger and DPDF 2010 Multiculturalism, Immigration and Identity in Western Europe and the United States Fellow Thomas Soehl
This paper uses the Pew Hispanic Center’s 2006 National Survey of Latinos to study the everyday, routine cross-border activities of travel, remittance sending and telephone communication among Latin American immigrants in the United States. We ask how migrants vary in the intensity of their cross-border connections, distinguishing among the transmigrants, those captured by the host-country national social field, and those who maintain some ongoing home-country tie. We then examine the characteristics associated both with variations in the intensity of connectedness and with each specific type of connection. We show that most migrants maintain some degree of home-country connectedness, with a minority severing ties and a still smaller minority maintaining ties at a high degree of intensity. Connectivity is highly responsive to the location of key social ties, acculturation, and citizenship status, as well as the costs associated with the different types of cross-border activity.