Creating Ties for Mobility: The Role of Community Organizations for Immigrant Parents in Urban, Poor Neighborhoods
Dina Okamoto (Affiliate in Sociology) and Melanie J. Gast with graduate student researchers Valerie Feldman (Sociology) and Robin Savinar (Sociology)

Immigrants from Asia and Latin America are among the fastest growing populations in the U.S. These newcomers may not have kin as a source of social support due to family disruption during the migration process, or they may have network ties to friends and kin who do not possess the social and economic capital needed to help increase prospects for social mobility.  This project by Research Affiliate Dina Okamoto seeks to inform policymakers and practitioners about the issues and challenges that immigrant families face in poor, urban communities and the role that Community-Based Organizations play as possible mediators between government systems and immigrant families.

With the devolution of the welfare state, community-based organizations (CBOs) are now a key part of the mobility process for low-income individuals living in high-poverty neighborhoods as they provide access to education, housing, and work. This work-in-progress seeks to understand how CBOs facilitate the economic and social incorporation of immigrant parents in two high-poverty neighborhoods in San Francisco, California that have experienced rapid increases in their immigrant populations in recent decades.

Researchers use interview and ethnographic methods to gain an in-depth understanding of how CBOs work to provide resources for new immigrants and in turn, how immigrant parents view these local institutions and use CBO resources to aid in the transition out of poverty.