Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration

CSII Publications

Immigrant Integration in Los Angeles

Immigrant Integration in Los Angeles: Strategic Directions for Funders
By Manuel Pastor and Rhonda Ortiz
January 2009

The Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Immigration released the report, Immigrant Integration in Los Angeles: Strategic Directions for Funders, which stresses how foreign-born and native-born Angelenos can work together for a stronger region. In Los Angeles County, one third of our residents are immigrants, nearly half of our workforce is foreign-born, and two-thirds of those under 18 are the children of immigrants, 90 percent of which are U.S. born. Immigrant integration can be defined as improved economic mobility for, enhanced civic participation by, and receiving society openness to immigrants.

"Southern California's social stability and economic prosperity is directly tied to what happens to our immigrant workers, families and children, said Antonia Hernández president and CEO of the California Community Foundation. We're in this together. So it is in our mutual interest and obligations to help our immigrant neighbors integrate into society...We are investing not just in their future, but in Southern California's as well." Immigrants by their residence add to the local economy, by their labor add to the workforce, and by their background add to the Los Angeles global ties. The report outlines specific strategies to:

  • Increase opportunities for economic mobility for immigrants, their families and their communities,
  • Enhance opportunities for civic participation by immigrants, and
  • Foster openness in society towards immigrants and their families.

PERE created the report using both demographic data and collective input from immigrants rights advocates, business and workforce development leaders, planners and government agencies, funders, labor unions, and community builders. The California Community Foundation funded the project.

PERE is a research unit headed by Professor Manuel Pastor and part of the USC Center for Sustainable Cities. The Program conducts research and facilitates discussions on issues of environmental justice, regional inclusion and immigrant integration. PERE conducts high-quality research that is relevant to public policy concerns and that reaches to those directly affected communities that most need to be engaged in the discussion. In general, we seek and support direct collaborations with community-based organizations in research and other activities, trying to forge a new model of how university and community can work together for the common good.

The Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) headed by Dowell Myers and Manuel Pastor has as its mission to remake the narrative for understanding, and the dialogue for shaping, immigrant integration in America. Our intent is to identify and evaluate the mutual benefits of immigrant integration for the native-born and immigrants and to study the pace of the ongoing transformation in different locations, not only in the past and present but projected into the future. CSII thus brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research, data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time, and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public.

Download the report
Full Report

News about the report

Foundation aims to help L.A. immigrants

The California Community Foundation plans a campaign to help L.A. immigrants become more active citizens by helping them learn English, improve job skills and increase civic participation.

By Teresa Watanabe
Los Angeles Times
February 10, 2009