Local organizations join the national, non-partisan 2022 New American Voters Campaign to ensure that everyone eligible to cast a vote in New Jersey is able to do so this November.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 27, 2022
- Mynellies Negron | (202) 993- 7844 | email@example.com
- Diego Bartesaghi | (862) 754-0696 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth, NJ September 27 — New Jersey is home to 177,890 newly naturalized U.S. citizens that are eligible to vote in critical 2022 midterms, according to a new report released today by Make the Road New Jersey, New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, New Jersey Institute of Social Justice, New Jersey Working Families Party, SEIU 32BJ, and the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at the University of California San Diego.
This bloc of potential voters — called New American Voters — is multiracial, multigenerational, geographically diverse, and majority female. They hold varying ideologies and viewpoints, and will be motivated by a variety of issues this November.
“As a new citizen voter in a swing district, I’m looking for leaders that will fight for good jobs and keep our immigrant neighbors and families safe, not handouts to corporations and a politics of hate and division. Hundreds of thousands of new citizens in New Jersey like me are ready to make our voices heard at the ballot box this November. It’s time to recognize our power,” said Eva Salcedo of Make the Road New Jersey.
“Voting is our right, our privilege, and most importantly our responsibility. It is the tool we use to express our will within the democratic process. That is especially important in a critical midterm election like the one we are facing. In New Jersey, we have an exciting opportunity to engage newly naturalized citizens to become part of this process and raise their voice at the polls,” explained SEIU 32BJ Executive Vice President and NJ State Director Kevin Brown. “Together, US-born and new citizen voters can support candidates who will advance our common objective – to better the lives of working people and our families. We cannot leave our future to chance, every vote counts.”
“This new report provides crucial data about new citizens, who are core members of New Jersey’s diverse community with enormous power to participate in its democracy,” said Henal Patel, Director of the Democracy & Justice Program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. “It is crucial that as we consider the needs of new citizens as voters, we work to tear down the barriers they face. We must pass same-day registration so they are not subject to our arbitrary voter registration deadline and a strong John Lewis Voting Rights Act that includes language access provisions.”
“Registering new citizens at naturalization ceremonies is a core League of Women Voters program,” said Jesse Burns, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “But the pandemic has hampered these efforts, making it more difficult to register new citizens and to ensure that they get the necessary follow-up outreach designed to drive turnout. Community-rooted partnerships, networks, and power-building are key to ensuring that barriers to the ballot are removed and new citizens can deepen their civic engagement.”
“Activating and empowering new American citizens to vote, particularly in local elections, will be a game changer in building power and creating equitable policies for working families in NJ. This is a potent opportunity to forge the more representative multi racial democracy we need in New Jersey,” said Arati Kreibich of the New Jersey Working Families Party.
“New Jersey has the nation’s second highest proportion of immigrants to total population. We have long known that our state’s immigrant community is powerful, and this report reflects the growing political and electoral force that we take up,” said Laura Bustamante, Policy & Campaigns Manager at New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. “Importantly, the report also highlights the urgency to advance measures that eliminate language barriers, racial discrimination, and inequitable voting laws so that this electoral group is not disenfranchised. It’s time for politicians at every level of government to understand and act: immigrants must become a higher priority, both on the campaign trail and in public policies they create.”
Voter suppression and other systemic barriers keep many eligible New American Voters from exercising that right. Growing backlogs at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have created delays in processing citizenship applications: There are more than 10,000 pending in USCIS’ offices in New Jersey, with processing delays of up to 16.5 months. Access issues related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and language barriers have prevented many eligible voters from registering.
In response, New Jersey-based organizations are joining the New American Voters 2022 Campaign, a non-partisan nationwide effort coordinated by the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) to encourage newly naturalized citizens to register and vote.
“The 2022 midterms could see an estimated 5.19 million New American Voters — including nearly 178,000 in New Jersey— who have naturalized in recent years. This voting bloc represents a powerful political force, but is not monolithic. They’ll be drawn to the polls by a variety of issues, their votes informed by diverse political ideologies, experiences, and backgrounds. Ensuring that these voters both register and vote is critical to ensuring a participatory, representative democracy,” said Nicole Melaku, Executive Director of NPNA. “We’re proud to team with partners across the country to encourage civic engagement and promote a democracy that protects, represents, and works for all of us.”
State data comes from a new national report published by NPNA, SEIU, APIA Vote, and USIPC. The findings are based on USCIS data on naturalization from 2016 to 2020, as well as naturalization applications that the agency approved in 2021. Topline data include:
- New Jersey is home to 177,890 newly naturalized U.S. citizens that are eligible to vote in critical 2022 midterms.
- New Jersey ranks 12th in the nation according to the New American Voters Impact Model, which showcases the potential of this critical voting bloc to influence the outcome of midterm elections in 50 states.
- Newly naturalized citizens in New Jersey are racially and ethnically diverse, with approximately 44 percent from the Americas, 36 percent from Asia, 11 percent from Europe, and 9 percent from the African continent.
- Approximately 59 percent are under the age of 45 years old and more than 55 percent are women.
- The New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area, which includes New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, has the state’s highest concentration of naturalized citizens, at nearly 3.9 million naturalized, followed by the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metropolitan area, which includes New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, with approximately 450,000, and then the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metropolitan area, which includes New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with approximately 48,000.
Make the Road New Jersey builds the power of immigrant, working-class & Latinx communities to achieve dignity and respect through community organizing, legal, policy innovation and transformative education. Learn more at maketheroadnj.org
32 BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers’ union in the country with more than 175,000 members in 12 states. Learn more at: www.seiu32bj.org
New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ) is the largest membership-based immigration coalition in the state, comprised of groups that span labor, faith, policy, community-based, and grassroots organizations. Learn more at: www.njimmigrantjustice.org
New Jersey Institute of Social Justice uses cutting-edge racial and social justice advocacy to empower people of color by building reparative systems that create wealth, transform justice and harness democratic power—from the ground up—in New Jersey. Learn more: www.njisj.org
New Jersey Working Families Party New Jersey Working Families is a grassroots independent political organization fighting for a government that represents the needs and values of working families. We elect candidates who share our values and organize campaigns to advance progressive policies. Learn more at: https://workingfamilies.org/state/new-jersey/
The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) is a national multiethnic, multiracial organization that represents 60 of the largest regional immigrant and refugee rights organizations in 40 states. Its members provide large-scale services for the communities, to leverage their collective power and expertise for a national strategy. Learn more at partnershipfornewamericans.org.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) unites 2 million diverse members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. SEIU members working in the healthcare industry, in the public sector and in property services believe in the power of joining together on the job to win higher wages and benefits and to create better communities while fighting for a more just society and an economy that works for all of us, not just corporations and the wealthy. Learn more at www.seiu.org
The U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at UC San Diego conducts and supports rigorous social science research to advance understanding of the foundations and consequences of U.S. immigration policy. Immigration has played an integral role in American history and is sure to feature prominently in America’s future. But what should the immigration policies of our nation of immigrants be? The USIPC brings together leading academics, policy analysts, immigrant rights leaders, and policymakers across all levels of government to conceptualize, debate, and design a new U.S. immigration policy agenda that meets the demands of the 21st century. Learn more at https://usipc.ucsd.edu/