Religion and Immigrant Integration

Religion and Immigrant Integration

The United States is a deeply religious nation, and many immigrants come from strong communities of faith. Yet most social scientists bring a strong secular bias to research, and tend to ignore how many people are guided by strong traditions of faith, religious belief and practice. I was struck by this revelation in the 1980s, when I did immigrant rights advocacy work in the Bay Area. Later in the 1990s, as part of USC’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture, I led a multi-year faculty working group on this topic, organized a national conference and edited a book, Religion and Social Justice for Immigrants (2007).

I also researched and wrote a book, God’s Heart Has No Borders (2008), about the diverse ways that Muslim American immigrants in the post-9/11 era organize around religion for civil rights and the ways in which multi-denominational Judeo-Christian clergy and laity do so to struggle against state violence at the US-Mexico border and for the economic justice of Latino immigrant service workers in Los Angeles.

Selected Books:

Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo (2008) God’s Heart Has No Borders: How Religious Activists Are Working for Immigrant Rights. University of California Press.


Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, editor (2007) Religion and Social Justice for Immigrants. Rutgers University Press.


Selected Articles:

Hondagneu-Sotelo, Pierrette (2011), “La Posada Sin Fronteras: Disputando Fronteras a Traves de la Espiritualidad Politica,” pp. 609-624 in Natalia Ribas Mateos, ed., El Rio Bravo Meditarraneo: Las Regiones Fronterizas en la Epoca de la Globalizacion. Barcelona: Ediciones Bellaterra, SGU.

Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, Genelle Gaudinez, Hector Lara and Billie C. Ortiz (2004), “‘There’s a Spirit that Transcends the Border’: Faith, Ritual and Postnational Protest at the U.S.-Mexico Border,Sociological Perspectives, 47(2):133-159.