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Manuel A. Vásquez
Manuel Vásquez, photo by Robin Holland
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November 16, 2007

"This whole concept of illegality again is really problematic because it really doesn't go to the complexities of the situation."--Manuel Vásquez

Manuel Vásquez, born in El Salvador, is an associate professor of sociology and religion at the University of Florida in Gainesville, specializing in the ways in which Latino immigration affects American communities.

In his studies, Vásquez has focused upon a growing sense of transnationalism among immigrant populations. "Today's immigrants are able to have dual loyalties," he explains to Bill Moyers. "That it's not one or the other, but that one can have roots in the country of settlement, but also one can still have ties with your home country."

>Ask Professor Vásquez a question about immigration policy on the Blog

His current project, a three-year-long Ford Foundation study entitled, "Latino Immigrants in the New South," examines the migration experiences and religious lives of Guatemalans, Mexicans and Brazilians in and around the Atlanta metropolitan area. He calls this form of study, the "politics of encounter" or "what happens when you have immigrants coming in, changing the racial dynamics of a particular place."

His recent publications include GLOBALIZING THE SACRED: RELIGION ACROSS THE AMERICAS (Rutgers University Press, 2003), which he co-authored with Marie Friedmann Marquardt, and IMMIGRANT FAITHS: TRANSFORMING RELIGIOUS LIFE IN AMERICA (AltaMira 2005), co-edited with Karen Leonard, Alex Stepick, and Jennifer Holdaway.

Guest photo by Robin Holland

Published on November 16, 2007

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References and Reading:
Hispanic Evangelical Offering GOP a Bridge to Future
by Charlie Savage, BOSTON GLOBE, March 6, 2006
"The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez Jr., president of a group he says represents 15 million Hispanic evangelical Christians, said his fellow social conservatives are making a historic mistake. By spurning proposals to give illegal immigrants a shot at citizenship instead of deportation, they are making it easier for supporters of abortion and same-sex marriage to win elections."

Latin American Immigrants in the New South
Visit the page dedicated to Vásquez's and Professor Phillip J. William's three year long study on Latino immigration in Atlanta.

Latinos, religion and change: Minnesota Public Radio
"A new report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life indicates that Hispanics are transforming the religious landscape in America, and that transformation may have political implications as well."

Moved by the Spirit; Hispanics Drawn to Festive Worship Fuel Rise of Charismatic Church Services (pdf)
by Tal Abaddy,SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL, May 27, 2007

Pew Hispanic Center
"Founded in 2001, the Pew Hispanic Center is a nonpartisan research organization supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Its mission is to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the entire nation."

Religion Important, but Overlooked, Element in Immigration Debate, Experts Say
by Bob Allen, ETHICS DAILY, Sept. 20, 2007
"Religion has a major role to play in the outcome of immigration debate but is largely overlooked amid local tensions and failed efforts in Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform, three experts said in a telephone news conference Wednesday."

Speaking of Faith: Globalizing the Sacred
American Public Media presents a conversation with Professor Vásquez about how American culture will be changed by the religious and spiritual world views of the Latino immigrants coming into the country.

We Need Their Money
by Diana Furchtgott-Roth, NEW YORK SUN, June 22, 2007
"The first requirement of a rational American immigration policy should be that benefits exceed costs. On exactly this point, two days ago the president's Council of Economic Advisers released a study showing that the benefits of immigration more than outweigh the costs."

Watershed Moment for Immigration
by Michael Barone, NEW YORK SUN, November 5, 2007
"October 2007 may turn out to be the month that immigration became a key issue in presidential politics. It hasn't been, at least in my lifetime."

THE ECONOMIST: A blended people, Nov 8th 2007
"Over the next few decades the strongest force shaping American culture may well be Mexican."

Immigration Theory

In their conversation Bill Moyers and Manuel A. Vásquez mentioned the work of several recent theorists of immigration in America. Read more below:

Samuel Huntington

Samuel Huntington is a political scientist in the Department of Government at Harvard known for the "clash of civilizations" theory advanced first in a 1993 article for FOREIGN AFFAIRS and later fleshed out in a 1996 book, THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS AND THE REMAKING OF WORLD ORDER. More recently, his 2004 book WHO ARE WE? THE CHALLENGES TO AMERICAN IDENTITY, presented the current wave of immigration as a fundamental threat to American identity.

"The Clash of Civilizations?," Samuel Huntington, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, Summer 1993
Professor Huntington's original article that set forth the basic tenets of his "clash of civilizations" theory.

"Native Son: Samuel Huntington Defends the Homeland"

"Creedal Passions"
Also from FOREIGN AFFAIRS, Huntington's response to Wolf's critique and a contentious back-and-forth between the two writers.

Robert Putnam

Robert Putnam is a Harvard political scientist. He is best known for his 2000 book BOWLING ALONE: THE COLLAPSE AND REVIVAL OF AMERICAN COMMUNITY, expanded from an essay in 1995, which argued that the connections within and between social networks are eroding in America. His more recent work suggests that high levels of diversity can be linked to a degradation in societal solidarity and interpersonal trust.

""E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century," SCANDINAVIAN POLITICAL STUDIES, June 2007
The full text of Robert Putnam's article proposing that diversity causes a "hunkering down" effect.

"The Downside of Diversity," THE BOSTON GLOBE, Michael Jonas, August 5, 2007
An analysis of some of the reaction and controversy that accompanied the publication of Putnam's article.

"Bowling With Others," COMMENTARY MAGAZINE, James Q. Wilson, October 2007
Public Policy Professor James Q. Wilson on potential policy ramifications of Putnam's study.

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A different take on immigration from sociologist and religious scholar Manuel Vásquez.
>Ask Professor Vásquez a question on the blog

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