In this paper I argue that there is a significant isomorphism between a host country?s political system and newcomers? participation. During the "first wave" of mass migration to North America from 1880 to 1920 some immigrants brought radical new ideas, significantly influencing worker and socialist movements. The influence of "second wave" immigrants appears more subtle, a careful jockeying for space within existing political structures. I suggest that political institutions exert a selection effect on potential immigrant community leaders both before and after migration. These selection processes reinforce prevailing political discourses and ways of participating.