Saturday, September 26, 2020

Non-Citizen Latinos Are A Political Force

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This election season has inspired many sectors of the population that would not have been active before. Non-citizen Latino immigrants are one of those sectors, even without a vote they could help decide the outcome in this year’s presidential election. This is the theory of two political scientists, Michael Jones-Correa and James A. McCann, which was published for the Russell Sage Foundation.

Jones-Correa and McCann used a new survey, the Latino Immigrant National Election Study (LINES) to provide data on the political behavior of Latino non-citizens. A few years ago, in advance of the 2012 election, McCann and Jones-Correa had the idea of doing a survey on the political behavior of immigrants who had not yet become citizens, and fielding it at the height of the presidential election.

“This premise might strike some people as odd, but we had the idea that people who live in the U.S. might participate in some way or another in our democratic process,” McCann said.

This is because political surveys mostly focus on eligible voters and likely voters, McCann explained, non-citizens and the foreign-born are left out of such research by design. Yet approximately one-in-12 residents living in the country, or roughly 40 million, according to McCann, are not citizens.

McCann calls the disparity between the subset of eligible voters and the broader class of the public “the civic status gap.” He believes that, as a social scientist, it is important to get an accurate measure of the political engagement of people who comprise that gap, in order to better understand the public overall.

Non-citizens, however, are politically active. Their research found that about one out of three non-citizen Latino immigrants reported attending rallies and marches, helping gather signatures for causes, posting political bumper stickers on their cars or political signs outside their homes, and having political discussions with friends, families, and neighbors.

“Exclusion from the ballot box,” stated Jones –Correa. Adding that “they are pushing their friends and neighbors to take political positions, especially around the immigration issues.”

NBC News