U.S. immigration policy over the last 100 years has changed the onus of political acculturation from public programs to private groups like churches. After this significant policy change, how do religion, social capital, and nativity intersect in the political mobilization of racial minorities? Furthermore, after the 1965 Hart-Celler Act, the country of origin of immigrants shifted from European countries to Latin America and Asia. Scholars have theorized that churches play a pivotal role in the socialization of immigrants by providing a place of belonging and a community willing to teach newcomers about the goings-on of American political society. How have these acculturation policies worked under new immigration populations? Previous scholarly work has connected social capital with churches, though their relationship to political participation has been minimal. We hypothesize that social capital and religious tradition have a multiplicative effect on the participation rates of believers, but that race mitigates that effect. The positioning of racial groups in broader society impacts the significance and role of churches within these communities. We use Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) 2016 data to examine the connection between social capital, religion, and political behavior in a novel attempt to systematically identify the unique role of churches in the mobilization of racial minority communities. We use these results to suggest that the current policies of privatizing political acculturation have had less success with more recent waves of immigrants.
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