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New Americans in the Voting Booth: The Growing Electoral Power of Immigrant Communities

The United States is in the midst of a major demographic transformation that has profound political consequences. Over the past couple of decades, the number of voters who are immigrants or the native-born children of immigrants (“New Americans”)—as well as members of the larger communities to which immigrants and their children belong (primarily Latinos and Asians)—has grown dramatically. Between 1996 and 2012, the number of New American registered voters rose by 10.6 million—an increase of 143.1 percent—and the number of registered voters who are Latinos or Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs)  increased by 9.8 million. Conversely, fewer and fewer voters are native-born whites. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Sep 23, 2014 | Download File

Immigrant Women in the United States: A Portrait of Demographic Diversity

There are more than 20 million immigrant women and girls in the United States today, and they are a formidable presence in U.S. society and the U.S. economy. Immigrant women come from every corner of the globe and slightly outnumber immigrant men. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Sep 10, 2014 | Download File

Unauthorized Immigrants Today: A Demographic Profile

With Congress gridlocked on immigration reform, all eyes have turned to the White House to implement administrative reforms that will address some of the consequences of years of legislative stalemates. While it remains to be seen what those fixes will be, the central question—as always—will be what to do about some or all of the estimated 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants now living in the United States. Tackling this issue effectively involves overcoming a common misperception that unauthorized immigrants consist primarily of barely literate, single young men who have recently crossed the southern border and live solitary lives disconnected from U.S. society. The truth, however, is that unauthorized immigrants include adults and children, mothers and fathers, homeowners and people of faith, most of whom are invested in their communities.Read more...

Published On: Tue, Aug 19, 2014 | Download File

Stepping Up: The Impact of the Newest Immigrant, Asian, and Latino Voters

by Rob Paral

Amid the current debate on immigration reform, much attention is on House members and how their vote for or against reform will play in their home districts.  But many congressional districts have a huge number of naturalized immigrants and young Asians and Latinos who are entering the electorate, and who deeply support immigration reform. 

Political analysts frequently discuss the changing demographics of voters but no analysis to date has quantified a key aspect of this change for each congressional district.  Thus, we have no way of knowing what portion of newly eligible voters in the 2014 elections come from either Asian and Latino citizen teenagers who will vote for the first time in 2014, or from legal immigrants who will naturalize by 2014.

Young Asians and Latinos will have a major impact on the composition of newly eligible voters in upcoming elections.  These groups are highly represented among the population of teenage citizens that become able to vote for the first time with each election.  About 1.8 million U.S. citizen Asians and Latinos become eligible to vote in each two-year election cycle.

Immigrants who become U.S. citizens through naturalization will also be a significant contributor to the evolving electorate.  Each election cycle, about 1.4 million of these new citizens become eligible to vote nationally.

Together, these groups will constitute 34 percent of all newly eligible voters in the 2014 elections.Read more...

Published On: Tue, Sep 03, 2013 | Download File

The Advantages of Family-Based Immigration

Since the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965, legal immigration to the United States has been based primarily on the family ties or the work skills of prospective immigrants. Under the provisions of current immigration law, the family-based immigration category allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs), or “green card” holders, to bring certain family members to the United States. There are 480,000 family-based visas available every year. Family-based immigrants are admitted to the U.S. either as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or through the family preference system.

The contributions of family-based immigrants to the U.S. economy, local communities, and the national fabric are manifold. They account for a significant portion of domestic economic growth, contribute to the well-being of the current and future labor force, play a key role in business development and community improvement, and are among the most upwardly mobile segments of the labor force. This fact sheet provides an overview of the economic and social advantages associated with family-based immigration. In particular, it highlights the direct benefits resulting from the participation of family-based immigrants in the labor force, their contributions to the community, and the key—yet often underestimated—value of the unpaid care work provided by immigrant women.

1.     Families are crucial to the social and economic incorporation of newcomers.Read more...

Published On: Thu, Mar 14, 2013 | Download File

Citizenship Day 2012: Realizing the Potential of the Immigrant Vote

For many aspiring immigrants, achieving citizenship means full participation in civic life—and that means the right to vote. Every year, thousands of immigrants become naturalized U.S. citizens and exercise their new right. In the 2010 national elections, naturalized citizens comprised 6.4% of all voters. The voter registration rate among immigrants as a whole has risen since 2000. Just as importantly, a growing number of U.S.-born children of immigrants are now coming of age and becoming voters.

However, the full potential of the immigrant vote has not been reached. There are more than eight million legal immigrants in the United States who are eligible to naturalize but have not yet done so. The latent electoral power of these voters-in-waiting is enormous. In many parts of the country their votes could potentially swing elections. As described in a series of Immigration Impact blog posts by Rob Paral, there are numerous counties across the country where the number of Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) who have arrived since 1985 exceeds the margin of victory in the Obama-McCain election. Moreover, the voter rolls of many counties would grow dramatically if LPRs who are eligible to naturalize actually did so and registered to vote. Although this could not happen in time for the 2012 election cycle, it could make a difference in future elections.

In many U.S. counties, the number of Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) who have arrived since 1985 exceeds the Obama-McCain margin of victory.Read more...

Published On: Mon, Sep 17, 2012 | Download File

African Immigrants in America: A Demographic Overview

Immigrants from Africa constitute a highly diverse and rapidly growing group in the United States. As Census data demonstrate, the African foreign-born population doubled in size between 2000 and 2010. Nearly half of African immigrants are naturalized U.S. citizens, and seven-in-ten speak only English or speak it “very well.” Just under three-quarters of African immigrants are black, while roughly one-fifth are white. The largest numbers of African immigrants are found in California, New York, Texas, Maryland, and Virginia. The top countries of origin for African immigrants are Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, and Kenya. Two-fifths of African immigrants have at least a bachelor’s degree, and more than one-third work in professional jobs. Read more...

Published On: Thu, Jun 28, 2012 | Download File

Latinos in America: A Demographic Overview

Latinos in the United States are a diverse and fast-growing group that is amassing considerable economic and political power. As data from the 2010 Census and other sources demonstrate, Latinos now account for one-sixth of the U.S. population. Most Latinos were born in this country, but over one-third are immigrants. Latinos as a whole (both foreign-born and native-born) are sizeable shares of the population and electorate in New Mexico, California, and Texas, but the fastest growing Latino populations are in South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee. The Mexican population is by far the largest in size, but the number of Spaniards is increasing the fastest. Latinos work in a diverse range of occupations, and nearly half of Latino households are owner occupied. Latinos also wield significant economic clout. Latino businesses and consumers sustain millions of jobs and add hundreds of billions of dollars in value to the U.S. economy. Read more...

Published On: Thu, Apr 26, 2012 | Download File

Asians in America: A Demographic Overview

Asians in the United States are a highly diverse group that is growing fast not only in size, but in political and economic power as well. As data from the 2010 Census and other sources demonstrate, Asians comprise the fastest growing race group in the country. Two-thirds of all Asians are immigrants, the majority of whom have put down firm roots in this country. Nearly three-fifths of foreign-born Asians are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote, and over half speak English “very well” or better. Asians as a whole (both foreign-born and native-born) are sizeable shares of the population and electorate in Hawaii and California, although their numbers are growing most rapidly in Nevada and Arizona. Of the major Asian groups, the Chinese population is the largest in size, but the number of Asian Indians is increasing the fastest. Asians tend to be well-educated, to work in professional jobs, and to own their own homes. They also wield significant economic clout. Asian businesses and consumers sustain millions of jobs and add hundreds of billions of dollars in value to the U.S. economy. Read more...

Published On: Thu, Apr 26, 2012 | Download File