Study: Catholic churches key in integrating Mexicans into U.S.
By Agostino Bono, Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2006 (www.catholic.org) - U.S. Catholic and Protestant churches are major channels for integrating Mexican immigrants into U.S. society and helping them participate in political life, said a new study by the Woodrow Wilson Center's Mexico Institute.
They also help Mexicans reaffirm their national identity in their new world and help immigrants advance their social and political concerns in the U.S., said the study, titled "Invisible No More: Mexican Migrant Civic Participation in the United States."
Churches "appropriate symbols and patterns of worship from migrants' hometowns in Mexico but tie the worship to the issues that migrants face in the United States and build capacities to address these proactively," it said.
As an example of how the Catholic Church is promoting Mexican immigrant social and political agendas, the study cited the U.S. bishops' campaign for comprehensive immigration reform.
The study was released Aug. 17 by the Washington-based Wilson Center, a nonpartisan think tank, and is based on research papers presented at a conference last November. The papers discussed how churches and other U.S. organizations were helping Mexicans become part of U.S. society.
The study said that more than 11 million people in the United States were born in Mexico, which is about 3 percent of the U.S. population.
Through churches, unions, worker rights organizations and Spanish-language mass media, Mexican immigrants are increasingly participating in U.S. society, said Jonathan Fox, one of the study's authors, during the teleconference to release the study.