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Abstract

Transnational ties form an important aspect of immigrants' experiences. Using ethnographic accounts of 38 first generation immigrants from Kenya this study analyzed (a) why and how participants maintain ties, (b) characteristics of the ties, and (c) the degree to which ties influence immigrants' experiences. Findings revealed that participants connected to Kenya through social, economic, and political transnational practices. Ties took on a U-shaped curve with the highest intensity at points of arrival and after extended stay in the United States. While participants had moved spatially, their values and attitudes remained static resulting in "particularistic" development efforts. This demonstrated how ethnicity, class, and length of stay in the United States permeate diasporic experiences. The paper discusses perspectives on collective organizing and emerging diasporic efforts to foster nationalistic development.