Diaspora Lobbies and the US Government

Convergence and Divergence in Making Foreign Policy

320 pages

October, 2014

ISBN: 9781479818761



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Josh DeWind is Director of the International Migration Program of the Social Science Research Council. He is the co-editor of The Handbook of International Migration: The American Experience.

All books by Josh DeWind

Renata Segura is Associate Director of The Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum of the Social Science Research Council.

All books by Renata Segura

As a nation of immigrants, the United States has long accepted that citizens who identify with an ancestral homeland may hold dual loyalties; yet Americans have at times regarded the persistence of foreign ties with suspicion, seeing them as a sign of potential disloyalty and a threat to national security. Diaspora Lobbies and the US Government brings together a group of distinguished scholars of international politics and international migration to examine this contradiction in the realm of American policy making, ultimately concluding that the relationship between diaspora groups and the government can greatly affect foreign policy. This relationship is not unidirectional—as much as immigrants make an effort to shape foreign policy, government legislators and administrators also seek to enlist them in furthering American interests.
From Israel to Cuba and from Ireland to Iraq, the case studies in this volume illustrate how potential or ongoing conflicts raise the stakes for successful policy outcomes. Contributors provide historical and sociological context, gauging the influence of diasporas based on population size and length of time settled in the United States, geographic concentration, access to resources from their own members or through other groups, and the nature of their involvement back in their homelands. This collection brings a fresh perspective to a rarely discussed aspect of the design of US foreign policy and offers multiple insights into dynamics that may determine how the United States will engage other nations in future decades.


  • "These thoughtful essays carefully focus on the constraints diaspora groups face as they engage in foreign policy in their host and home countries.The book's emphasis on the how US state actors interact with diasporic groups underscores why such groups are less threatening to US interests than is often assumed."

    —Rodolfo de la Garza, author of Latinos and U.S. Foreign Policy: Lobbying for the Homeland?

  • "The array of case studies on Diaspora groups in the US in this edited volume provides not only critical insights into the evolution and status of those groups, but also offers astute analyses of their diverse and complex relationships with the US government as they seek to influence policy toward the homeland. Framed throughout by a well-articulated ‘divergence/convergence’ analytical approach, this volume facilitates comparative analysis and is a must-read for anyone engaged with issues related to Diaspora populations and transnational migration."

    —Robert E. Maguire, author of Haiti Held Hostage