A report presented today sheds light on data around newly naturalized citizens and their potential impact on national, state, and local elections
RALEIGH, NC – Over five million individuals are estimated to have naturalized since 2014 in the United States, approximately 3.1 million of which did so after Donald Trump’s election, making for one of the most significant electoral groups in recent U.S. history, according to a report released today by the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA).
The report analyzed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data on naturalizations from fiscal years 2014 to 2018, applications approved in fiscal year 2019, and estimates for 2020, based on spikes of naturalization before the 2016 presidential election.
The report also indicates that significant numbers of these newly naturalized voters are located in North Carolina, and other politically important states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Texas, Colorado, Maine, Virginia, and New Mexico, where they could potentially determine the political outcome in this year’s local and state political races, and the national election.
“With North Carolina being one of three states with the fastest growing immigrant electorate, it’s very important to deliver adequate information for newly naturalized citizens to register to vote and exercise their right as their opinion matters and everybody’s vote is going to have a huge impact in this year’s elections.” – Ivonne Bass, Immigrant Legal Center Director, Latin American Coalition.
Other relevant local data from the report includes:
● In North Carolina, the top nations of origin for newly naturalized citizens from 2014 to 2018 were: Mexico (7,41); India (5,806); Vietnam (2,919); China (2,270); Philippines (1,996).
● In terms of world regions, the newly naturalized from 2014-2015 were from Asian and Pacific Islander countries, Latin America and Europe.
● The North Carolina Senate seat up for reelection in 2020 had a margin of 48,511 votes. The number of citizens who naturalized from 2014 to 2018 dwarfs that number at 62,555, with a large number of citizens who are from Mexico, India, Vietnam, and China. By 2020, the number of citizens in North Carolina who have naturalized since 2014 can reach as high as 98,937.
In response to the finding of this report, Latin American Coalition will join the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), an organization that represents 35 of the largest regional immigrant and refugee rights organizations in 37 states and will lead the “New American Voters 2020 Campaign.” The campaign will promote voting among the newly naturalized Americans in 2020. Through this campaign, NPNA will work with other member organizations, national partners, mayors, cities, and media, as well as celebrities, cultural figures, and many more, getting out the message of the importance of voting for newly naturalized and its diverse communities. This effort will focus on digital and social media platforms, but will also include opportunities via traditional media and other civic engagement events.
“This a multi-racial, multi-generational voting bloc that represents a powerful political force in the upcoming elections. At a time when anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies are high in our country, these New Americans Voters can raise their voices and sway the outcome of elections for the White House and Senate, governships, and state legislatures. The first step to exercising that power is to register and vote. NPNA, along with its partners and allies, are dedicated to encouraging New Americans to exercise the most influential democratic action a citizen can take, which is voting,” said Nicole Melaku, NPNA’s new Executive Director.
According to the report, a majority of these new citizens have naturalized in response to the multiple attacks on immigrant and refugee communities. The Latin American Coalition argued that “the anti-immigrant climate in this country, far from deterring communities, has become a driving force to attain citizenship. With this much level of enthusiasm, new Americans will have a dramatic impact on local, state, and national races. That’s the political capacity these New Americans Voters have”.
Other relevant findings of the study are:
● A slight majority of the newly naturalized citizens are women (55.6 percent).
● Almost 70 percent (68.44 percent) of citizens who naturalized from 2014 to 2018 are originally from Latin American and Asian and Pacific Island countries.
● 90 percent (88.24 percent) of these are from countries in Latin America, Asia and the Pacific Islands, Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.
● Roughly one-third of newly naturalized citizens (32.6 percent) were 18 to 34 years old when they naturalized, with 36.5% in the 35-49 age bracket, and 30.9% of 50+ individuals.
● The number of newly naturalized citizens from 2014 to 2018 is larger than the 2016 margins of victory for the President in Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Nevada. Their numbers near the margin of victory in Arizona, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
● In Florida, for example, the largest number of naturalized citizens from 2014 to 2018 were originally from Cuba and larger than the margin of victory during the 2016 Presidential election. The next largest groups of naturalized citizens for that state were originally from Haiti, Colombia, Jamaica, Venezuela, and Mexico, combined, representing a larger demographic than the 2016 margin of victory.
● In Michigan, the number of citizens from Iraq who naturalized from 2014 to 2018 alone is larger than the 2016 Presidential margin of victory.
● The number of newly naturalized citizens from 2014 to 2018 are larger than the margins of victory for Senate seats that are up for re-election in 2020 in North Carolina and Virginia. Their numbers near margins of victory in New Hampshire and Colorado. They can also sway the outcome of hotly contested elections in Arizona and Maine.
More details on the findings of NPNA’s New American Voters report can be found here.
About the National Partnership for New Americans:
The National Partnership for New Americans is a national multiethnic, multiracial organization that represents 41 of the largest regional immigrant and refugee rights organizations in 35 states. Its members provide large-scale services for the communities, to leverage their collective power and expertise for a national strategy.
About the Latin American Coalition
The Latin American Coalition is a community of Latin Americans, immigrants and allies that promotes full and equal participation of all people in the civic, economic and cultural life of North Carolina through education, celebration and advocacy.
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