Presidential Election Moves Some to Apply for Citizenship

While many immigrants are content with the rights that permanent residency green cards give them in the United States, some are changing their minds in the face of the upcoming election.

French native Pierre Plessier, who has lived in the United States for seven years, recently told Indiana University newspaper the Indiana Daily Student that the 2012 presidential election has spured him to apply for the right to vote by taking citizenship classes.

“I pay taxes, I live here just like any other person, and the only way to be heard is to become a citizen,” Plessier said. “There are not very many people here who are aware of legal immigration and the process and the years that it takes to come here and to fill out all that red tape and everything like that.”

Currently taking a free course in Bloomington, Indiana, offered to immigrants working toward their citizenship, Plessier believes that the current drawn-out process creates certain barriers for different groups trying to make a better life for themselves.

“It is expensive to come here legally, and I think people who are already living in poverty or distress, they are not going to try to get some money to come into the U.S.,” he said, according to the source. “They’re just going to try to get in with the little things they have.”

While Plessier and five other Bloomington-area residents are currently working toward their right to vote, immigration and voting rights advocates recently joined together in Selma, Alabama, to advocate for voting rights. Held on March 7, the event was held 47 years after the historic march in 1965, which worked toward voting rights for people of all skin colors, according to the Huffington Post.

This year’s march was held in protest and to raise awareness of the new ID voting laws that were recently passed in more than 12 states. Criticized by many as measures to try and limit the U.S. voting population, these states have forced some counties to stop registering new voters and have required others to present forms of identification at voting centers. According to the Post, many voting advocates believe the measures are largely targeted at the African American and Latino populations, as these groups more often statistically lack the ‘proper’ types of identification.