More than 130,000 Newly Naturalized Citizens in Georgia Can Sway the Outcome of 2021 Senate Runoff Election, GALEO, AAAJ-Atlanta and NPNA Report Finds
A report release today sheds light on the potential impact of newly naturalized citizens on national, state, and local elections
ATLANTA, GA – More than 130,000 people have naturalized in Georgia since 2014, according to a new report by the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), in collaboration with the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO), Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta (AAAJA) and The Latino Community Fund of Georgia (LCF). These potential new voters exceed the margin of victory for the 2020 presidential election (11,779 votes).
“I wouldn’t have been able to become a voting naturalized citizen if it weren’t for community organizations like GALEO doing this work long before I was at my organization. My story is just one story out of many, but it’s a journey of recognition that democracy is an active sport that we play every day. It is up to us to create that future for our students, entrepreneurs, workers and communities.” said Gigi Pedraza, executive director of the Latino Community Fund of Georgia.
Pedraza is part of an estimated 5 million individuals across the country that have naturalized since 2014. Of this group, around three million naturalized after Donald Trump’s election, making them one of the most significant electoral groups in recent U.S. history. The national New American Voters report analyzed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data on naturalizations from fiscal years 2014 to 2018, applications approved in fiscal year 2019, and estimates for 2020, based on spikes of naturalization before the 2016 presidential election. Despite the mismanagement of USCIS and its backlog of over 700,000 citizenship applications serving as a voter suppression tool, approximately 5 million newly naturalized citizens can sway the outcome of this years’ presidential, senatorial, and gubernatorial elections.
The Georgia report includes the following top lines on Georgia’s new American population:
- In Georgia, the largest numbers of naturalized citizens from 2014 to 2018 were originally from Mexico, India, Vietnam, Jamaica and South Korea.
- Georgia county breakdown: Gwinnett County is home to more than 100,000 naturalized citizens, while Fulton, Cobb, and DeKalb have approximately 50,000 each. There are also over a dozen counties throughout Georgia that have several thousands of naturalized citizens.
- Age breakdown: Nearly two-thirds of newly naturalized citizens in Georgia from 2014-2018 were below the age of 45 when they naturalized.
This effort is part of GALEO’S Georgia civic engagement campaign and NPNA’s New American Voters 2020 campaign. The latter is a national campaign which promotes voting among newly naturalized Americans, and includes the participation of NPNA partner organizations such as AAAJ-Atlanta & GALEO to lift up the importance of voting for naturalized citizens.
“This a multi-racial, multi-generational voting bloc represents a powerful political force that once already made their voice heard in November. At a time when anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies are high in our country, these New Americans Voters have raised their voice and sway the outcome of elections for the White House and the state legislature. The first step to exercising that power in the Senate run-off is to register and vote. NPNA is proud to join with GALEO & AAAJ-Atlanta today as they work across Georgia to encourage New Americans to exercise the most influential democratic action a citizen can take, which is voting,” said Nicole Melaku, NPNA executive director.
New Americans are making a significant difference and have been doing so for quite some time. There’s well over 250K latinos registered to vote in Georgia, many of which are naturalized citizens. Latino voter participation rate in Georgia has surpassed the national average, not just this election cycle, but several election cycles prior. We’re working with partners in the Black, Asian-American, & refugee communities to engage voters and turn out folks to the polls” added Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials.
Access the full the national New American Voters report from NPNA here.
GALEO’s mission is to increase civic engagement and leadership of the Latino/Hispanic community across Georgia. We strive for a better Georgia where the Latino community is engaged civically and its contributions and concerns are recognized.
Latino Community Fund of Georgia is a 501(c)(3) Latinx membership organization serving as a philanthropic intermediary and providing specific direct services and programs. We fund power-building strategies, program development, and capacity building in Georgia.