Immigration Effects on Politics

Influence of Immigrants in US Politics

The United States is a nation of immigrants having more than 12.6 million legal immigrants according to the 2010 Census Bureau. As the immigrant population in Asians and Latinos is growing faster and account for larger share of the US population their implication on the economy and electorate is also becoming higher. From the beginning of Roosevelt coalition in 1930 to the present presidential elections the political impact of immigration has been greatest in the states where most immigrants are residing. Just like citizens to be eligibility for voting, the legal immigrants of other nationalities should undergo the procedure for naturalization process as per the immigration law. However, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 enacted by Congress, makes it a federal crime for non-citizens and illegal immigrants to vote in any federal election.

Political Impact of Immigration:

  • The rise in rate of immigration and naturalization has led to increase in the ability of immigrants to exert direct political impact in local, state and federal levels.
  • The voting patterns of eight US presidential elections in the last three decades from 1980 to 2008 project the fact that increase in immigration population has a gradual diminishing support for presidential republican votes throughout the country.
  • Each immigrant ethnic group of possess different political viewpoints and preferences in the electorate than the native-born. The replacement of African Americans by Latinos as the largest minority group has shown a profound political shift in most immigrant populated states and increased the Democratic Party majority.
  • Throughout the last decade, surveys has projected that Latinos have slightly different behavioral tendencies and lower participation rates than natives and are far more Democratic in their vote preference and party identification.
  • The counties with large immigration population have greater electoral impact than the other places. The statistical data indicates that one percent point increase in the share of immigrants across these large counties has produced an average 0.58 percent point drop in the votes of the Republicans.

Redistribution of High Immigrant Forces:

The presence of foreign born individuals in an uneven pattern across the country has greater political impact on the distribution of seats in House of Representatives. However, in American history whenever the mass immigration happen, initially the immigrants get concentrated in few states and then move to the other areas slowly which results in the irregular political shifts. For instance, in urban counties where the immigrant population is dense, the cast of votes for republican candidates has decreased from 49% in 1980 to 43% by 2008. It has been noticed that even if the foreign-born population is more dispersed throughout the country, there is still significant political impact of immigration because of the huge continuous influx of immigrants (legal & illegal).