OLLAS Publications & Presentations
While Latino immigrant workers in Council Bluffs, Iowa have contributed significantly to the Iowa and Nebraska economies, they remain virtually invisible and lack a voice in the city’s key venues and institutions – this according to a new report being released by the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Office of Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS) and funded in part by the Iowa West Foundation.
The report, titled “Invisible & Voiceless” combines data from the 2010 Census with 26 interviews with members of Council Bluffs’ civic, government, education, religious, non-profit and business communities as well as Latino voices gathered at interviews and a small number of Spanish-language workshops and focus groups. Read more...
Date: March 2013
Although recent research from the Pew Hispanic Center suggests that the rate of recent immigration to the United States has slowed considerably, other studies clearly show that immigrants make substantial economic contributions to the communities in which they settle.
This report focuses attention on the quantitative economic impact of first-generation, foreign-born individuals on the Omaha-Council Bluffs economy as well as the Nebraska and Iowa state economies in 2010. Read more...
The Omaha Site: Migrant Civil Society Under Construction
Date: May 2010
Omaha es una de las nueve ciudades en los Estados Unidos que fué escogida por el Centro Internacional Woodrow Wilson para Académicos con el fin de examinar la participación cívica y política de los migrantes. Lourdes Gouveia con el equipo de OLLAS y Sergio Sosa del Centro Laboral, produjeron este informe bilingüe basado en entrevistas y una mesa redonda con una amplia participación de la comunidad migrante y Latina.
Date: December 15, 2009
Date: October 12, 2008
Immigration issues have once again assumed center stage in policy circles at every level of government in the United States, as the number of new immigrants, many undocumented and many from Latin American nations, has risen markedly in recent years. This is certainly true in Nebraska. According to US Census figures for 2000, the total immigrant population in Nebraska was estimated to be 74,638. By 2006, this figure had risen to 99,500, a 33.3 percent increase. By comparison, the total native-born population in the state grew less than 2.0 percent over the same six-year period.
Date: April 2007
Mexicans, like all other ethnic groups that created the United States as a nation of immigrants, were adamant in establishing churches of their own. Ethnic religious affiliations were essentially of Judeo-Christian origin and benefited effectively from the tolerance of worship mandated by the Constitution. Freedom of belief was known, demanded, and exercised by all immigrants. For Mexican and other ethnic communities, religious belief and centers of worship were the very heart of their community and identity bonds, their source of strength and reason to persevere in a new society where multiple nationalities, cultures, languages, and ethnicities converged.
This report provides a historical account of three Christian churches in South Omaha: the Virgin of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, and the First Assembly of God Church. Chronologically, the congregations were organized between 1918 and 1948. These churches first were small community gatherings in family sitting rooms and rented shops. All of them were and still are located in South Omaha, and all were established by the Mexican community. Today these churches serve all those who reside in the area or attend ceremonies and rituals: old and new Latinos, the most recent generations of immigrants (Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Poles, Russian, Lithuanians, et al.), and recent refugee communities from Africa.
Date: October 2006
This OLLAS policy brief seeks to enhance basic information regarding the role Latinos will play in shaping the future of politics in Nebraska in the short and medium term. Because issues such as immigration policy, fair housing, labor practices, and public education have risen to the top of the political agenda nationally and statewide, and because these issues most directly impact the lives of Nebraska’s growing Latino constituencies legitimately, we must consider to what extent Latino stakeholders can shape the debate and articulate acceptable policy responses to these matters.
How effectively these issues are dealt with will have major implications for all Nebraskans. This report sets out the basic parameters for an initial analysis of Latinos' political participation in Nebraska. In order to arrive at a more conclusive statement, we must continue to gather data and engage in multiple discussions. Nevertheless, we hope this report will begin to inform a broader conversation on Latino and immigrant political participation across Nebraska.
Examining the Impact of Parental Involvement in a Dual Language Program: Implications for Children and Schools
Date: August 2005
This study focuses on a dual language (Spanish-English) program in the Omaha Public Schools. Dual language programs are programs in which children develop proficiency in two languages simultaneously. These programs are currently seen as the gold standard second language education because of the large amount of empirical support they have received with respect to children’s academic gains. All of the dual language classrooms are comprised of half native English speakers and half Spanish speakers.
Parental involvement has received much empirical attention with respect to traditional school programs; however, little is known about the role of parental involvement in dual language programs (Lindholm-Leary, 2001). Systematically studying dual language programs is an especially important area of investigation because of the latest census trends and because barriers to parental involvement for language minority children are likely to differ from those of language majority children.
For a list of additional publications produced from this project, please visit the Faculty Publications page on the OLLAS website.
Resumen Ejecutivo en Español: PDF
The unprecedented and continuous growth of the Latino population in Nebraka compels us to engage in institutional changes, comprehensive policy reforms, and innovative programs that enhance the productive integration of this population into our state. As an abundant body of research and informed practices make clear, education is the bedrock of successful integration for current and future generations of Latinos. No longer can a job, obtained without a high school or college education, provide the opportunities it may have once provided to older generations of Americans or, for that matter, first-generation immigrants. The latter tend to measure their socioeconomic success relative to conditions of unemployment and below-poverty wages they may have left behind. Their children’s socioeconomic mobility will hinge on educational attainment in this country.
This report was prepared by OLLAS at the request of the State of Nebraska Mexican American Commission (MAC). It is, in part, an update of earlier reports prepared for the commission by the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Its main contribution is as a resource for program managers and policymakers in formulating policies and innovative programs to address the recalcitrant educational gap affecting the Latino population. The report combines of census and educational data and our analysis is grounded in current sociological and educational research.
The Development of Mexican Nonproliferation Export Controls
This report by OLLAS assistant director Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado is part of a developing research and outreach project with the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia. It involved working with Mexican government officials to design and implement national responses to international agreements and obligations to ensure command and control of critical nuclear, biological, and chemical materials in Mexico. Dr. Benjamin-Alvarado conducted a comprehensive survey, which he administered in Argentina and Cuba previously, later in 2005 to assess Mexican export controls.
The Integration of the Hispanic/Latino Immigrant Workforce
The main purpose of the study was to explore the degree to which Latino newcomers are being effectively and positively integrated into the economic, social, and political lives and institutions of the state and local communities. The project consisted of three phases. The first was based on analysis of Census 2000 figures, government documents, media archives, and published research. The second phase developed a survey questionnaire mailed to a wide array of agencies and organizations directly or indirectly charged with integrating newcomer populations. In the third phase we conducted focus groups with newcomers and key organizations in three Nebraska communities. This project represents an important step by Nebraska to address the serious dearth of research on the state’s Latino population.
In January 2000, Legislative Bill 1363 was introduced to the Nebraska legislature by a group of seventeen state senators. The purpose of LB 1363 was to create the Task Force on the Productive Integration of the Immigrant Workforce Population. As part of its initiative, the Task Force held a series of public hearings that gave individual citizens across the state an opportunity to express their views and ideas about the opportunities and challenges "oldtimers" and new arrivals to Nebraska face as a result of an increasing immigrant workforce population in their respective communities. The second component of the initiative was to sponsor a research study on this same topic. The authors were selected by the State of Nebraska's Mexican American Commission, the result of which is the above report.
In January 2010, the OLLAS Data Series was launched in an effort to provide useful reference tools for community organizations, policy‐makers, students and scholars seeking to understand changing demographic trends. The data series will focus on the Latino and foreign‐born population in Nebraska and across borders.
Demographic and Socio-Economic Trends
The Office of Latino/Latin American Studies of the Great Plains (OLLAS) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) has released a data brief examining the extent to which Latinos in the state – and within specific districts and counties – are eligible to vote. The brief, coauthored by Lourdes Gouveia and Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, utilizes estimates from both the 2010 Census and the recently published data from the 2005-09 American Community Survey (ACS). Unlike the 2010 Census, the ACS includes questions about citizenship, which allowed the authors to estimate the percentage of Latinos of voting age, or near-voting age, who are citizens and thus eligible to vote in forthcoming elections. "The report, which is suggestive of the potential impact of Latino population growth in future elections, is also particularly timely because Nebraska legislators will be engaged in a lively discussion about redistricting in the coming weeks and months," Gouveia said. "These are important decisions where party politics often play a significant role and where minority populations’ impact on future elections could be diluted if their numbers are seriously split across district boundaries." Leer el reporte en Español ►
This is the second report in the OLLAS’ data series entitled “Demographic and Socio-Economic Trends.” The first report can be located on the OLLAS website. The data series focuses on the Latino and foreign-born populations in Nebraska and comparisons with other population groups. The bulk of the data for this report comes from the American Community Survey (ACS). In some cases, however, data are unavailable in the single-year American Community Survey releases. For this report, we have used data from the 2000 U.S. Census and from the three-year estimates, 2006-2008 ACS, in addition to the 2009 data. We also include a few tables comparing socio-economic changes between 2008 and 2009 in order to offer a glimpse as to how the recent economic crisis, which began just before the start of 2008, affected these various population groups.
3. Nebraska's Foreign-Born and Hispanic/Latino Population: Demographic Trends, 1990-2008
Latino Population and Migration Trends in the US and Nebraska (presentations)
1. ¿Por qué Omaha? Inmigrantes Latinoamericanos y su impacto en Nebraska
In the Balance: Immigrant Economic Contributions and the Advancement of Human Rights in Nebraska
The Health-Care Debate and Nebraska's Latino and Immigrant Populations
This policy brief presents evidence for major barriers to access medical care for Latinos and immigrants and the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to improve health insurance coverage. The brief also outlines some potential solutions. Read more...
Demographic Characteristics of the Latino Population in the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area
This is the first installment of fact sheets about the Latino population in the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Statistical Area. Together, these fact sheets will provide the context for a forthcoming report on the economic and fiscal impacts of this population in the metro area. Read more...
Este es el primer número de una serie de boletines informativos acerca de la población latina en el área estadística metropolitana de Omaha-Council Bluffs. Esta serie servirá de contexto al reporte venidero sobre los impactos económicos y fiscales de la población latina y migrante en el área metropolitana. Leer más...
Nebraska Immigration and Latino Issues Related Legislative Bills
The year 2011 saw many Latino and Immigration-related bills in the Nebraska State Unicameral. View the OLLAS-created chart to read a summary.
Second-Generation Latinos in Nebraska: A First Look
Nebraska’s Responses to Immigration
In the midst of the fiery debate regarding undocumented immigration, assimilation returned to the front seat it occupied during the early decades of the twentieth century. The main purpose of this report is twofold: (1) to take stock of the policies and accompanying community responses of the State of Nebraska, and (2) to inform policies and programs designed to address challenges and opportunities posed by a growing immigrant population.