Latinos and U.S. Foreign Policy: Representing the Homeland?

This spirited and well-documented book responds to the charge that Latino engagement in American foreign policy threatens to undermine core American values and fragment national unity. In fact, the authors write, Latinos are not actively involved in U.S. foreign policy making -- and no clear pattern defines the relationship between emigrants and their countries of origin. Like other Americans, Latinos view trade, economic growth, and development as priorities, even though they believe that the United States gives those issues far less attention than it does to drugs. Latinos also believe that the United States places too much emphasis on illegal immigration. Mexico ranks high in importance for Latinos, western Europe far lower; only one-fifth of Hispanic leaders surveyed ranked Asia, the Middle East, and Canada as being very important to the United States. There are also significant differences within Latino communities. Democratization, human rights, and environmental protection, for example, generate more support among Cuban Americans than among Mexican-American leaders. Jorge Domínguez argues in his thoughtful conclusion that Cuban Americans' deep political engagement results from their social class, organizational resources, and a commitment to collective action. But he also agrees with the study's main finding: aside from Cuban Americans, most U.S. Latino communities play a modest role in U.S. foreign policy formation -- and when they do, they advance the goals of the American government. An important contribution to the ongoing debate over the power of ethnic groups in the making of American foreign policy.

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