You cannot turn on the television or open a newspaper without seeing updates about the upcoming election. It is no secret that many of the most contentious issues in this year’s election center around immigration and immigrant rights. Unfortunately, even with this much coverage, we still rarely get to hear from immigrants themselves. Immigrants must have their voices heard too. It is imperative that immigrants are able to exercise their power to influence America’s future.
Immigrants and Voting: By the Numbers
According to a study conducted by the American Immigration Council (AIC), the impact of immigrants on American elections has been rising in recent years. The AIC looked at this issue by examining the voting history of ‘New Americans’. The organization defines New Americans as first generation immigrants and their children. Their data shows that in 1996, less than 9 million voters were classified as New Americans. However, by 2012, that number had risen to more than 19 million. Further, it is expected to pass 22 million this election cycle. However, that will only happen if immigrants actually show up and vote. Ultimately, elections are decided by the people going to the polls. If you are eligible to vote, and you are not registered, your voice will not be fully heard. Consequently, your interests are sure to be underrepresented. Fairvote.org, a voting rights advocacy organization, notes that rates of voter turnout vary dramatically based on demographics. Particularly noteworthy is their findings that young voters (18-29), Asian-americans and Latino-americans are all groups that are underrepresented among the voting population. Perhaps not coincidentally, these are also groups that all include a disproportionate share of immigrants. It is critical that immigrants turn out to vote to ensure that their interests are protected and that they are fairly represented at all levels of government.
Who Can Vote?
In federal elections, such as the presidential election, only United States citizens can vote. Both undocumented immigrants and permanent residents are not eligible. However, that does not mean that you are not allowed to participate. Immigrants should still let their voices be heard.
Registering to Vote!
The processes and deadlines for voting registration varies by location. For example, in Massachusetts, you may be able to register to vote online, by mail or in person. You will need to complete your registration 20 days before the election. In California, it is even easier to register to vote online and you will need to register within 15 days of election day. Regardless of your state, the 2016 election is very important. It is also coming fast, as it is taking place on November 8th, so you must take action to register as soon as possible.
We Support Immigrants in L.A.
At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, our compassionate Los Angeles immigration lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of immigrants. Immigrants help our nation thrive and we work hard to provide them legal protection whenever necessary. We have an office on the east coast, in Boston, and a second office on the west coast, in Los Angeles. If you are in need of immigration-related legal assistance, or assistance regarding immigration if you work in the entertainment industry, please do not hesitate to contact our team today to learn more about what we can do for you.