Should or Shouldn’t Legal Immigrants Vote? That is the Question

By: Rachelle Cecala

Voting rights in the United States of America have always been a topic of interest throughout history.  When someone is granted the right to vote for future leaders of America, it is worn as a badge of honor.  From African Americans to women, throughout history, many people have fought to have the right to vote in America.  Today, in the modern world we live in, various groups of people are still fighting to obtain voting rights.  However, there has been a shift in the outdated ideals and conservative views of who should have voting rights.  Today, about sixty (60) percent of the immigrants eligible to naturalize are Latino and about twenty (20) percent are Asian.  These people are being targeted and encouraged to become American citizens so that they can have the right to vote in the presidential election.

In September 2015, White House officials stated that they were going to start a nationwide campaign aimed at encouraging legal immigrants to become American citizens.  The result would be that this conversion would add millions of voters to the electorate just in time for the presidential election.  In an effort to encourage the 8.8 million legal residents in the country who are eligible to become citizens to do so, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will offer practice tests and will hold preparatory workshops in rural areas for the civics exam.  These steps are aimed at making it easier to complete the final steps to citizenship.  Additional initiatives that are being taken to encourage legal immigrants to convert to American citizens are that revisions are being made to regulations imposed by the Justice Departments.  Revisions to regulations are necessary because it would allow for people who want to help immigrants naturalize, to obtain credentials to provide basic volunteer legal assistance.

Having a right to vote in a country gives people a voice.  The days where American citizens had to protest, rally, and fight to have the right to vote seem to be a distant memory in the modern world of today, where legal permanent residents, who are not citizens, are able to vote in state elections.  This modern push towards encouraging and helping immigrants naturalize is so that their concerns and voices too may be heard, and is one which should be followed through by White House officials.

Source: Julia Preston, White House Campaign Urges Legal Immigration to Become (Voting) Citizens, N.Y. Times, Sept. 18, 2015, at A21.

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