WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) is proud to endorse the bicameral “Including New Voters In The Electorate” (INVITE) Act, introduced today by California Senator Alex Padilla and Congresswoman Norma Torres. The bill aims to address the barriers faced by New Americans in registering to vote following their naturalization.
While new citizens receive some information about voter registration during their U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) naturalization ceremonies, they are left without any assistance in completing or submitting the necessary forms to state election agencies; and individuals who naturalize at judicial ceremonies or without a formal ceremony are not guaranteed to receive any voter registration information. This lack of support has resulted in many new citizens remaining unregistered to vote.
Under the National Voter Registration Act, federal and state offices can serve as voter registration agencies. The INVITE Act would bring USCIS – the primary agency responsible for immigration benefits – closer to ensuring full civic engagement integration by taking the lead in voter education for new citizens.
Nicole Melaku, executive director of NPNA, stated, “What many people don’t realize is that becoming a U.S. citizen is not an automatic path to becoming a registered voter – a gap that could be bridged with the INVITE Act. As a coalition of nearly 70 of the nation’s largest immigrant and refugee rights organizations, NPNA is proud to endorse the INVITE Act, which will remove barriers to New Americans’ participation in our democracy. Aligned with our steadfast commitment to immigrant inclusion, this bill will help make the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of citizenship more accessible to New Americans and their communities across the nation. We are grateful to Sen. Padilla and Rep. Torres for their leadership and commitment to New American Voters, and urge all members of Congress to support this democracy-building legislation.”
The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) is a multi-ethnic, multiracial coalition of nearly 70 of the nation’s largest immigrant and refugee rights organizations with reach across over 40 states. Together with our members, we advance immigrant and refugee equity and inclusion, build and expand immigration legal services and integration programming capacity, and drive campaigns that strengthen democracy through increased civic participation. See our website for more information at partnershipfornewamericans.org