• Crafting Colombianidad: The Politics of Race, Citizenship and the Localization of Policy in Philadelphia

      Goode, Judith, 1939-; Schiller, Naomi, 1978-; Gilbert, Melissa R.; Ramos-Zayas, Ana Y. (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      In contrast to the municipalities across the United States that restrict migration and criminalize the presence of immigrants, Philadelphia is actively seeking to attract immigrants as a strategy to reverse the city’s limited economic and political importance caused by decades of deindustrialization and population loss. In 2010, the population of Philadelphia increased for the first time in six decades. This achievement, widely celebrated by the local government and in the press, was only made possible through increased immigration. This dissertation examines how efforts to attract migrants, through the creation of localized policy and institutions that facilitate incorporation, transform assertions of citizenship and the dynamics of race for Colombian migrants. The purpose of this research is to analyze how Colombians’ articulations of citizenship, and the ways they extend beyond juridical and legal rights, are enabled and constrained under new regimes of localized policy. In the dissertation, I examine citizenship as a set of performances and practices that occur in quotidian tasks that seek to establish a sense of belonging. Without a complex understanding of the effects of local migration policy, and how they differ from the effects of federal policy, we fail to grasp how Philadelphia’s promotion of migration has unstable and unequal effects for differentially situated actors. This becomes evermore salient as increased migration wrought through local policy efforts guarantees that Philadelphia will continue to uneasily shift away from its Black-White racial polarity. Second, I explore how the racialization of Colombians is transformed by the dynamics of localized policy in Philadelphia, where their experiences of marginalization as Latinos belies the construction of immigrants as a highly valued group, and shaped by the particularities of Colombian history, the imperial nature of US-Colombia relations, and shifting geopolitics among Latin American nations. The dissertation highlights how Colombians seek to meaningfully distinguish themselves from other Latinos by examining the ways changes in Latin America have shaped and continue to shape the politics of race in the US, and thus how Colombians navigate and produce the boundaries between groups. The dissertation contextualizes Colombian migration within three significant shifts in the contemporary US.: 1) the increasing attempts of states, municipalities and cities to craft their own immigration policies, specifically declining cities attempting to rebound from population loss and deindustrialization, 2) the emergence of Latinos as the largest demographic minority group and their increasing heterogeneity with respect to race, legal status, class and national origin and 3) heightened attention to citizenship as legal status and performances and practices of belonging. This research contributes to the theorization of racial formations and citizenship by providing critical information about local immigration policies as transforming intra- and inter-group relations, thus offering an analysis of Philadelphia as a new immigrant destination.