Latino Victory Foundation and National Partnership for New Americans Launch the New American Democracy Campaign to Increase Naturalization and Mobilize Immigrant Voters
The New Democracy Campaign (NADC) will create the first-ever voter registration program for naturalized citizens and for the U.S. citizen children of immigrants.
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the Latino Victory Foundation and the National Partnership for New Americans launched the New American Democracy Campaign (NADC).
The NADC’s mission is to increase the naturalization rate, and register and mobilize millions of voters, with the goal of increasing naturalization by 38 percent to 1 million in 2016. Currently, there are 8.8 million legal permanent residents who are eligible to apply for citizenship but don’t do so because they don’t have the resources—financial or other—to do so, don’t understand the process, or are scared.
The New Americans Democracy Campaign is supporting a national goal of raising the number of naturalizations next year by 38% to 1,000,000 new citizens. The NADC field will engage 750,000 immigrants and assist 98,000 with their naturalization applications. In addition the NADC will engage and assist 45,400 new Americans with their voter registrations.
If we add the 8.8 million residents who are eligible to naturalize to the 1.9 million U.S. citizen children of immigrants who are eligible to vote, and an additional 11.5 million Latino voters who do not turn out to vote, this would add a significant number of voters to the electorate. If only 20 percent of these potential voters naturalize and vote, 4.4 million Latino and immigrant voters’ voices would be heard at election time.
Cristóbal J. Alex, President of Latino Victory Foundation said, “Our community is under attack and our future is at stake. Now more than ever it’s important that those who are able to naturalize do so and make their voices heard at the polls. Research shows that newly naturalized Latino respondents have a high propensity to vote—67 percent voted at least once and 84 percent registered to vote. NADC will work to reach and engage 750,000 immigrants eligible to naturalize. We will provide resources and education and turn some of these 8.8 million citizenship eligible lawful permanent residents into active citizens and participants in our democracy.”
“Latinos and all immigrants need to use all of their power to defend their communities in this toxic political moment. That means naturalizing, registering and turning out to vote. The time is now,” said Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the National Partnership for New Americans.
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL-04) said, “there are a few very predictable times when naturalization numbers go way up and two of those times are when there is an important election coming up and when immigrant communities are feeling under attack. Needless to say, we are seeing a huge surge in interest in naturalization because of what candidates have been saying about native, citizen and immigrant Latinos and about other people from around the world. The energy in my hometown of Chicago around citizenship and voting is tremendous.”
U.S. Rep. Norma Torres (CA-35) added, “Our vote is our strongest weapon in the fight against the anti-immigrant rhetoric that’s dominating the political discourse. We have to show those who demonize our community that there are consequences, and we do that by registering to vote, and by showing up at the polls in such large numbers that we cannot and will not be ignored.”
“In a year in which Latino and immigrant communities have been under consistent attacks by elected leaders and presidential hopefuls, there is no doubt that Latino voters and their families will have a response in 2016. Forget the sleeping giant—Latinos in America are ready to act. From fighting for immigration reform to becoming U.S. citizens and registering to vote, the Latino electorate is engaging their whole family to walk through the threshold of our democracy,” said Rocio Saenz, America President, Executive Vice President, SEIU and Latino Victory Foundation Board Member.
“Citizenship is more than a piece of paper. Citizenship is about civic engagement and political participation. New American citizens and immigrant families have integrated themselves into our society and establishing deep roots, they have made extraordinary contributions to the economic vitality, cultural experience and diversity of our communities and our country,” said Gustavo Torres, CASA and NPNA Board Member.
“Naturalizing and registering some of the 8.8 million lawful permanent residents who are eligible to become citizens today will take time and energy. It will also take information. Fortunately, substantial research over the past year has made it easier to identify where many of these people live and what kinds of challenges they face in the naturalization process. The goal of this campaign—to increase civic engagement and strengthen our democracy—could not be more important.” Tom Jawetz, Vice President for Immigration Policy, Center for American Progress.
For information, please visit www.newamericandemocracy.org.
The New American Democracy Campaign, a 501(c)(3), is a partnership of the Latino Victory Foundation and the National Partnership for New Americans. NADC engages in research, non-partisan civic engagement, and strategic communications.