Incorporating in their Adopted Cities

January 1, 2009 | Portal |

Mexican Immigrant Politics in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas


This paper looks at the process of political incorporation of Mexicans in the urban centers where they have settled, including Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York. Political incorporation refers to the process by which immigrants settle and are absorbed in the politics of their adopted cities.

As a first step I will trace the contrasting opportunity structures Mexican immigrants have faced in each locale by examining (1) the political development and (2) the leading institutional legacies. Therefore, I will evaluate the history of migration and minority relations in each locality and from the institutional perspective whether the city has a predominantly reform or machine style political system. These systems are defined by the characteristics of their electoral systems and the role that political parties play in the political process. For example, machine systems generally tend to have district elections whereas reform systems tend to have at-large elections. Machine systems have partisan elections, whereas reform systems tend to have non-partisan elections. Although there are few places in America where classic political machines still operate, their importance in the past still shapes the reception of newcomers.