Amnesty activists are engaged in a new effort to encourage immigrants in the U.S. to naturalize and register to vote.
The Latino Victory Foundation and the National Partnership for New Americans launched the New American Democracy Campaign this week in an effort to increase immigrant participation in elections.
The government estimates there are about 8.8 million legal permanent residents who are eligible to apply for naturalization. According to the groups that launched the NADC Thursday, their goal is to increase the rate of naturalization in 2016 by 38 percent so that 1 million immigrants to become citizens next year.
Once citizens, NADC plans to assist the newly eligible with voter registration. Additionally the group will be encouraging the citizen children of immigrants to register and vote as well.
NADC organizers cited the recent political rhetoric as a mobilizing factor that compels those immigrants — and Latinos in particular — who are eligible to vote.
“Our community is under attack and our future is at stake,” Cristóbal J. Alex, Latino Victory Foundation president, said in a statement. “Now more than ever it’s important that those who are able to naturalize do so and make their voices heard at the polls. Research shows that newly naturalized Latino respondents have a high propensity to vote—67 percent voted at least once and 84 percent registered to vote.”
The organization has a goal of engaging with 750,000 immigrants eligible to naturalize and assisting 98,000 with their naturalization applications as well as registering 45,400 naturalized immigrants to vote.
“Latinos and all immigrants need to use all of their power to defend their communities in this toxic political moment. That means naturalizing, registering and turning out to vote. The time is now,” Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the National Partnership for New Americans, added.
According to the groups, they will “be heard” even if only 20 percent of the 8.8 million eligible legal permanent residents, 1.9 million citizen children of immigrants, and the 11.5 million Latino voters who did not turn out to vote show up to the polls.
In conjunction with its launch the campaign released a video using audio from GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.