Comparative Migration Studies

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 305–333 | Cite as

Transnational Behavior in Comparative Perspective

The Relationship between Immigrant Integration and Transnationalism in New York, El Paso, and Paris
  • Ernesto CastañedaEmail author
  • Maria Cristina Morales
  • Olga Ochoa
Open Access


This paper examines transnationalism across migrant generational statuses in three urban centers. The objective of this study is to explore how immigrant integration influences the maintenance of social and economic connections with the communities-of-origin. To accomplish this objective we examine the impact of socio-economic status and generational status (first to third) on whether respondents remit, visit their communities-of-origin, or desire to return. The data for this study is based on survey data collected in New York City, New York, U.S.A.;El Paso, Texas, U.S.A.;and Paris, France. We find that transnational practices differ across the three locations. In Paris we find evidence of reactive transnationalism — looking abroad due to exclusion in the new society. In New York, however, there is more support for resource-based transnationalism — better legal and socioeconomic integration that allows for more transnational involvement. Transnationalism in El Paso differs from NYC and Paris in large part due to being located along the U.S.-Mexico border. Surprisingly, we find that El Paso respondents are less transnational than those in Paris or New York when it comes to remittances, visiting, and the desire to return to the sending community. We conclude by proposing a new typology of transnationalism that accentuates the contextual aspects of these practices.


migrant transnationalism reactive transnationalism remittances third generation incorporation 


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© The Author(s) 2014

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits use, duplication, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernesto Castañeda
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Maria Cristina Morales
    • 3
  • Olga Ochoa
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society (COMPAS)University of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.New School for Social ResearchZolberg Institute on Migration and MobilityNew York CityUSA
  3. 3.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of TexasEl PasoUSA
  4. 4.University of TexasEl PasoUSA

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