Immigration Policy Center released a study today contending that “new Americans,” defined as recent naturalized citizens and U.S.-born children of immigrants from Latin America and Asia since 1965, are becoming increasingly powerful in elections as their numbers grow. In 2008, these groups made up about 10 percent of the voting population, a number that grew by more than 100 percent since 1996, according to the report.
Granted, newly naturalized citizens, Latinos and Asians do not vote in a bloc, but polls indicate many from these groups share similar political preferences — including widespread support for immigration reform. The report claims immigrants and their children are particularly important in certain states with large immigrant populations. In California, for instance, “new American” voters accounted for 28.9 percent of the electorate in 2008, according to census data.
Hoping to capitalize on some of that political power, immigration reform advocates are aiming voter mobilization efforts at Latino, Asian and immigrant voters in 23 states: Florida, California, Illinois, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, New York, Virginia, Colorado, Washington, Ohio, Wisconsin, Idaho, North Carolina, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Utah.
A coalition of groups such as Center for Community Change, America’s Voice and Mi Familia Vota have purchased ads and encouraged voter registration in a $5.4-million effort to turn out Latino and Asian voters in the midterms. “Immigrant voters are Americans by choice,” Lynn Tramonte of America’s Voice said in a press release today. “They love this country and are proud to be a part of it. By getting out to vote they strengthen our democracy, and encourage politicians to pass immigration reform that integrates immigrant families rather than demonizes them.”