How can societies that welcome immigrants from around the world create civic cohesion out of their ethnic and racial diversity? This critical question will be addressed by an immigration expert during a Democrats of Rossmoor meeting at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, at Gateway Clubhouse.

University of California, Berkeley Associate Professor Irene Bloemraad’s research provides a first-of-its-kind comparative perspective on how the United States and Canada encourage foreigners to become citizens. Based on both vivid in-depth interviews with immigrants and statistical analysis and documentary data, Bloemraad’s research shows that Canada’s greater state support for settlement and official government policy of multiculturalism increases political participation of its immigrants when compared with those in the United States.

Professor Bloemraad will speak on Saturday, April 28, in the Fireside Room. Her talk will begin promptly at 3 p.m. Refreshments will be served and there will be time for questions from the audience. To make arrangements to be allowed to enter Rossmoor, email

The United States, long an example of successful immigrant integration, today faces great challenges in incorporating newcomers into its established communities. While many previous accounts suggest that differences in naturalization and political involvement stem from the differences in immigrants’ political skills and interests, Irene Bloemraad discovered that immigrants’ integration into their host communities depends fundamentally upon their reception, rather than upon the countries they come from or the skills they bring with them. In her discussion she will also describe the implications of her findings for countries other than the U.S. and Canada, including Australia and in Europe.

Bloemraad received her Ph.D. from Harvard University. She has published both books and numerous academic articles based upon her extensive research on a broad spectrum of aspects of immigration and the policies and programs that either facilitate or hamper the process whereby immigrants become effective citizens of their host counties.

Bloemraad has recently published a book entitled Becoming a Citizen: Incorporating Immigrants and Refugees in the United States and Canada. In describing her work, she writes, in part, “Underlying all my work is a concern and interest in how people become incorporated in political bodies, the processes through which incorporation takes place, and the (potential) tension between democratic civic equality and communal membership based on ethnicity, race, religion or some other seemingly organic membership.”

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