Legal Status and Transnationalism among Senegalese Migrants in Europe

Erik Vickstrom, Princeton University

This paper seeks to examine the relationship between legal status and transnational activities among Senegalese migrants in Europe. Does legal status promote or constrain ties to the sending country? Does lack of legal status spur transnationalism as a reaction, or is transnationalism the product of a more secure integration into the host society? Results from a longitudinal study of Senegalese migrants in France, Italy, and Spain show that legal status, along with other personal and contextual factors, shapes these migrants’ remitting, cirulating, participation in associations, and host-country investing. Lack of legal status is negatively associated with circulation, participation in associations, and investment, reinforcing the notion that transnational engagement and assimilation are parallel processes. Undocumented status is associated with increased remitting, lending support to the idea that some forms of transnationalism are a response to lack of integration.

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Presented in Poster Session 7