October 11, 2018
The extent of political socialization for foreign-born Latinos in the U.S. is influenced by background characteristics such as gender, race, ethnicity, (Garcia 88), as well as language, generational status, and acculturation (Garcia 107). Since most foreign-born Latinos are coming from “less democratic, and elitist political systems, which produce a legacy of limited participatory experience” (Garcia 334), the state of their political participation in the U.S. politics is reliant on their children and determines the extent to which an individual will be involved. Furthermore, Garcia states that early socialization doesn’t predetermine any individual’s participatory life (88) which makes socialization a particularly crucial factor in the development of foreign-born Latinos’ political participation as it can further facilitate their integration into American politics and help grow certain dimensions of their political participation. The central dimensions of political participation, according to Garcia, involves a range of factors from having political knowledge and accessibility to developing political resources such as time, communication and organizational skills, and money (87). Even if a foreign-born Latino has an interest in American politics, they may be restricted by their limited resources. General demographic information shows that Latinos don’t possess the required time, money, or skills due to lower levels of education and income (Garcia 106). Legal status can also be a factor behind a lack of participation in politics from foreign-born Latinos as voting in elections is one of the most common forms of political participation (Garcia 90). As stated by Garcia, other reasons for Latino nonparticipants include age restrictions, felony records, language barriers, disinterest, cynicism and distrust in politics (89). One of the more concerning reasons that Garcia mentions for Latinos lack of political participation is the simple fact that no person or organization asked them to get involved because they weren’t perceived as individuals as participants (89), as every voice counts in democracy.
Garcia, John A. Latino Politics in America: Community, Culture, and Interest. Lanham: Rowman ; Littlefield, 2016.