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July 08, 2006

Report finds that there are 14.25 million potential voters among legal immigrants who are currently eligible to naturalize

As millions of immigrants marched across the U.S. in the historic mobilizations for immigration reform this past spring, they chanted: "Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote". Skeptics dismissed the marchers, pointing out that neither the undocumented nor legal permanent residents (green card holders) can vote. This report finds that there are 14.25 million potential voters among legal immigrants who are currently eligible to naturalize and the 16 - 24 year old U.S. born children of immigrants. This includes 12.4 million potential new voters who can be eligible to participate in the 2008 elections.

Findings and Implications:

There are 14.25 million potential voters among immigrant legal permanent residents (green card holders) who are currently eligible for citizenship and 16 – 24 year old U.S. born children of immigrants who will be eligible to vote in the 2008 elections. (See Tables 1 and 2 below.) This number includes:

• Nearly nine and a half million immigrants who are currently eligible to naturalize, become U.S. citizens, and vote.

• Almost two million U.S.-born children of immigrants between the ages of 18 and 24 years who are not currently registered to vote.

• The almost two million U.S.-born children of immigrants between the ages of 18 – 24 who are already registered to vote.

• Another one million U.S.-born children of immigrants who are not yet voting age, but will reach 18 years of age by the time of the 2008 elections, and will be eligible to register and to vote.

• There are over 2.6 million Mexican immigrants who are currently eligible to become U.S. citizens. (Table 3, Column 1)

These numbers reveal a massive population whose entry into the electorate holds the potential to substantially and quickly alter the political status quo:

• There are 16 states where the number of immigrants eligible for citizenship and unregistered young U.S. born children of immigrants in 2008 total more than the vote differential between George Bush and John Kerry in 2004. This includes 11 states considered presidential “swing states” (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, and Wisconsin.)

• There are 27 states where the numbers of immigrants eligible to become citizens and vote and unregistered young U.S. born children of immigrants who could vote in the 2008 election cycle total more than 50,000 potential new voters.

• There are 17 states with gubernatorial races in 2006 where the voting potential of the 4.25 million children of immigrants is either large enough to be a significant voting block, or where the race is close enough (according to the Cook Political Report) for the immigrant vote to be a determinative “swing”. (Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin)

• The harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and legislation initiated by some Republican legislators is already pushing these potential voters to march and has spurred
close to a 20% increase in citizenship filings.

• It appears that the Bush administration and some Republican legislators understand and are threatened by the large numbers of immigrants who might become citizens. They are creating numerous new walls to deny citizenship to legal immigrants, and thereby delay democracy. New barriers that prevent legal immigrants from becoming U.S. citizens include: higher citizenship fees, more bureaucracy, electronic pre-applications, and a substantially more difficult citizenship exam.

See http://www.icirr.org/index_files/tomorrowwevote.pdf for the full report

Posted by VisaLawyer at July 8, 2006 08:10 AM

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