Today — September 17th — is National Citizenship Day. Amidst anti-immigrant legislation like SB 1070, the anti-mosque and anti-Muslim frenzy (which many feel is being exploited by Republicans to curry votes in the upcoming elections), race-based violence against immigrants, and the dismal failure of Obama and the rest of the Dems to deliver on comprehensive immigration reform…let’s celebrate the positive and crucial contributions immigrants have made to every aspect of American society.
And it should be a two-way street, right? Isn’t it hypocritical of us as a nation to rely upon and benefit from the sweat of immigrants while keeping them in the shadows and denying a path to becoming fully integrated members of our communities? While legalization of undocumented immigrants may not happen this year, we can still do our part to help legal residents become citizens.
When one becomes a citizen, they acquire certain protections and rights, like protections against being deported, being able to reunite with family members overseas, and — incredibly important for the upcoming midterm elections, which are very much in danger of being overtaken by the G.O.P. — THE RIGHT TO VOTE.
Research shows that naturalized immigrants — when registered — vote at higher rates than the native-born. And APIAs tend to vote progressive, which means less Repubes and less racist, anti-immigrant legislation in the long run. But our folks need even more outreach and assistance to successfully register and turn out to the polls.
So whether it’s talking to someone in your family who may be eligible to naturalize, or volunteering at an ESL or citizenship prep class, we can all do our part to help more immigrants naturalize. For more info and resources go here.
And speaking of APIAs and voting, for those in the LA area, don’t miss this epic voter registration and arts event (featuring my future ex-husbands Quest Crew, aooogaaah!):