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Public Policy and Administration


Chistopher Jones


This qualitative study investigated perceived barriers to the incorporation of Haitian immigrants in Florida into local politics and government. The theoretical framework for this study was Marschall and Mikulska's theory of minority political incorporation to better understand the political ambition of Haitian immigrants to emerge as candidates and voters toward achieving electoral success and a substantive representation. The research question addressed the lived experiences and perceptions of Haitian immigrants related to barriers to their political mobilization at district, state, and federal levels. A phenomenological study design was used with open-ended interviews of 10 Haitian Americans who lived in Florida for at least 3 years. Data were analyzed through a six phase thematic analysis, were categorized into themes and subthemes and were later coded to determine which ones best expressed the challenges that Haitian immigrants were facing. Results indicated immigration statuses, language, and poor knowledge of Haitian immigrants of U.S. politics as well as poor leadership and the absence of a communication platform as factors hindering the incorporation of Haitian immigrants into local politics and governments. Haitian-American leaders could benefit from the results of this study as they may develop a cohesive framework for citizenship drives, voter registration, community outreach, and literacy programs. The positive social change implications from this research include the view that Haitian immigrants are not a burden on the U.S. economy, but a potentially mature and attractive minority group with political value to U.S. lawmakers, district, state and presidential candidates.