Feb. 26 (UPI) — One in 10 eligible voters in 2020 are naturalized U.S. citizens, a Pew Research Center study released Wednesday said.
Over 23 million immigrants who became citizens, a record, will be able to vote. The number increased by 93 percent since 2000, a period in which U.S.-born eligible voters grew by 23 percent. The number of immigrants living in the United States has risen from 9.6 million in 1965, when the Immigration and Nationality Act became law, to about 45 million today, currently constituting about 13.9 percent of the population. A rising number of immigrants, 7.2 million between 2009 and 2019, have chosen to become U.S. citizens, the study says.
Fifty-six percent of immigrants-turned-citizens live in California, Texas, New York or Florida, and two-thirds have been U.S. residents for over 20 years. The majority came from either Latin American or Asian countries. Mexican immigrants account for 16 percent of the total. Hispanics, at 7.5 million, accounted for 34 percent of all immigrant eligible voters in 2018. At 6.9 million, Asian immigrant eligible voters comprise 31 percent of the foreign-born electorate. Both figures are increased since 2000. White immigrant eligible voters are 22 percent of the group, a decline since 2000, and black immigrant eligible voters comprise 7 percent, up from 2000.
Combined, immigrants born in Mexico, the Philippines, India, China, Vietnam, Cuba, Korea, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and El Salvador, account for about half of all immigrant eligible voters, the study reveals.
Issues of immigration policy are regarded as an important issue in the 2020 election. Policy changes proposed by the White House have resulted in polarized reactions from the voting public. The Pew report suggests that “these proposals may also affect how immigrants see their place in America and the potential role they could play in the 2020 presidential election.”