stjacques_nsf - Doctoral Dissertation Research: The...

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Doctoral Dissertation Research: The Implications of Economic and Social Mobility for Transnational West African Migrants in Spain Principal Investigator: Maxine L. Margolis, Ph.D., University of Florida Co-Principal Investigator: Ermitte St. Jacques, M.A., University of Florida Project Summary This project applies the framework of segmented assimilation which analyzes different patterns of immigrant integration to understand variations in transnational activities among West African immigrants in Barcelona, Spain. It examines the role of immigrant integration in determining the types of cross- border activities immigrants pursue and their level of engagement in these activities. Given the monetary and legal resources needed to facilitate certain transnational activities, this project proposes that immigrants with greater social and economic mobility in the host country will demonstrate a wider range and an increased frequency of transnational behaviors. For instance, West African immigrants having legal immigration status and occupational mobility will demonstrate greater transnational behaviors than those illegally residing in Spain and employed in low-wage menial jobs. Broader Impacts. The proposed project broadens the understanding of the relationship between immigrant integration and transnational behavior by studying populations that have been under- represented in transnational migration research in a country where mass immigration is a recent phenomenon. International migration research concerning Africans has centered mostly on the forced migration of refugees and labor movements. Examining how Spain’s migration policies and the social context of reception affect the integration of sub-Saharan Africans, and indirectly their transnational activities, also has applied implications.
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Research Problem Statement The proposed project examines how the social and economic integration of sub-Saharan West African immigrants in Barcelona, Spain affect their participation in transnational activities, or behaviors that enable them to maintain social ties in their countries of origin. With the emergence of transnational migration studies, the focus of international migration research has largely shifted from examining immigrant integration in receiving nations to exploring their transnational behaviors. However, the relationship between immigrant integration in the receiving country and the types of transnational activities immigrants pursue, as well as the degree of their involvement in these activities has not been directly studied. Some migration scholars have suggested that transnationalism is, in part, an adaptive strategy, a reaction to the hostile reception and downward mobility that nonwhite immigrants face in post- industrial nations (Basch et al. 1994; Portes 1997, 1999; Waters 1999; Faist 2000). Given the monetary and legal resources needed to facilitate certain transnational activities, downward mobility in the receiving society appears to limit the capacity of immigrants to engage in these behaviors. The critical
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stjacques_nsf - Doctoral Dissertation Research: The...

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