300,000 additional voters could be accredited by naturalization before polling day

“As of the second week of October, tens of thousands of US residents have already been barred from becoming US citizens in time to meet their state’s voter registration deadlines. As a result, most of these potential voters will not be able to participate in the upcoming November elections. Unless immediate action is taken, up to 300,000 potential citizens will be barred from voting in November due to newly instituted policies that deviate from two decades of regulatory precedent regarding the naturalization of U.S. citizens during the years of presidential election. Thus begins a new special report entitled Denying the right to vote: the politicization of the naturalization process as a new form of electoral repression just published by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Boundless Immigration.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center is a national, non-profit organization that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals and policy makers to build a democratic society that values ​​diversity and the rights of all. Boundless Immigration is a company dedicated to making it easier for families to navigate the U.S. immigration system with more confidence, faster, and at a lower cost. The report they released contains new data highlighting that potential citizens are highly motivated to vote – especially in several closely watched states for the upcoming presidential election. It also details specific policies that the USCitizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can implement immediately to ensure that tens of thousands of naturalization applicants can become citizens in time to vote.

Unprecedented steps

“USCIS has taken unprecedented steps to politicize the naturalization process in an important election year, and tens of thousands of potential citizens have already been denied the right to vote,” said Melissa Rodgers, director programs at Immigrant Legal. Resource center. She added, “Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia allow same day voter registration. To ensure the integrity of our next election, the current administration must commit to taking immediate steps such as same-day processing of oaths and the administration of remote oath ceremonies that would contribute to a swift and efficient decision. hundreds of thousands of naturalization applicants same day loans.

The report draws on new survey data collected from 200 partners across the United States. The survey documents the main motivations of aspiring new Americans to become US citizens. These survey data show that obtaining the right to vote is the primary motivator to become a U.S. citizen for a large plurality of naturalization applicants across the country. Survey data also shows that potential citizens are particularly motivated to vote in key states that could be decisive in this year’s presidential election. The voter registration deadlines have already past for many states, including Florida and Texas, where a large number of potential citizens are still waiting for USCIS to complete their pending naturalization applications.

Naturalization has always been a priority

“Past administrations, both Republican and Democratic, have rightly prioritized naturalization as central to integrating immigrants into America’s economic and civic fabric,” said Doug Rand, co-founder of Boundless Immigration. delay. ”He added,“ Preventing nearly 300,000 new Americans from voting is not trivial. Newly naturalized citizens are one of the fastest growing electoral blocs in the United States – at least they l ‘were until now.

To remedy this situation and minimize damage to the integrity of the upcoming U.S. election, the report’s initiators call on USCIS to commit to processing naturalization decisions expeditiously, combined with the use of technology. sensible to facilitate remote naturalization oaths. This would allow the agency to complete thousands of naturalization decisions in time for many new U.S. citizens to vote.

A dangerous precedent

If USCIS refuses to engage in these proceedings, it will set a dangerous precedent by treating aspiring citizens as political adversaries. This hostile outlook paves the way for future administrations to adopt similar policies and practices, which in turn jeopardizes what has traditionally been broad bipartisan support for naturalization and the integration of new Americans into the United States. the American democratic process.

Every day that passes without immediate USCIS action potentially results in tens of thousands of additional potential voters being banned from participating in this election, ” Eric Cohen, Executive Director, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, mentionned.

It’s hard to avoid concluding that these policies were designed to suppress the vote of many New Americans, many of whom are Latin Americans. ” Clarissa Martinez de Castro, Assistant Vice President, Policy and Advocacy, UnidosUS, mentionned.

“It is unacceptable that many of these aspiring New Americans are likely to be barred from voting as American citizens in 2020. The government should not break their faith in democracy in this way,” Marita Etcubanez, director of strategic initiatives, Americans of Asian origin Advancing justice, added. In the absence of naturalization, it remains only for these immigrants to work to bring eligible voters to the polls. This is what some young people are Make.

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