New Citizens Will Continue to Play Key Role in Elections

A recent report from the Center for the Study of Immigration Integration at the University of Southern California found that approximately 3.6 percent of the voting-age population is comprised of newly naturalized citizens, which includes individuals who have become U.S. citizens in the last decade. According to Slate Magazine, this group of people is motivated to become naturalized and take part in voting because of the politics surrounding the immigration debate.

Naturalized citizens make up more than 8 percent of the voting population, which is broken down to one third Latino, one third Asian and one third non-Hispanic whites and blacks. Although the number has increased, it still represents a small group of the voting population. But in elections when swing states are determined by razor-thin margins, these votes are pertinent.

“We hope that the data inspires a more civil, balanced and solutions-oriented conversation about immigration – one in which realistic solutions are proposed and agreed upon so that voters can concentrate on other issues such as the economy,” said Dr. Manuel Pastor, director of USC’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration.

The strength of the new citizen vote is charged by their obvious passion for immigration reform. Some states, such as Kansas, have embraced the history of immigrant citizens in their state.

The U.S. District Court, District of Kansas, commissioned an exhibit at the Robert J. Dole Courthouse in Kansas City that documents the state’s history with immigration and naturalization. According to the Hays Post, Kansas attracted the largest number of immigrants between 1865 and 1880, and by 1870, 13 percent of the population was foreign-born. Today,six percent of Kansans are foreign born and more than 20 naturalization ceremonies take place here each year.