HomeAsian AmericansPew study finds: 10 percent of American voters are immigrants. Nearly 7...

Pew study finds: 10 percent of American voters are immigrants. Nearly 7 million are Asian.

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By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent

Asian Americans make up the second-largest group of foreign-born voters in the United States behind Hispanics, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.

The study entitled “Immigrants Make up One in Ten U.S. Eligible Voters in 2020” reports 6.9 million of these 23 million foreign-born voters are Asian Americans. They comprise 31 percent of all immigrant voters, second to Hispanics who make up 7.5 million or 34 percent.

“Our report highlights how the nation’s electorate is diversifying, not only by race and ethnicity but also by nativity,” Neil Ruiz, Associate Director of Global Migration and Demography here at Pew Research Center, said in an interview with AsAmNews. “Since the passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, some 59 million immigrants have arrived in the United States, most from Latin America and Asia. This report looks at those who have become naturalized citizens and eligible to vote in elections.”

The number of eligible immigrant voters in the United States has nearly doubled, an increase of 93 percent, since 2000, according to the report. During that time, the number of foreign-born Asian voters more than doubled from 3.4 million to 6.9 million.

All of this is happening under the backdrop in which Trump’s immigration policies have polarized the electorate. Ruiz says “it remains to be seen” how they will vote since “immigrant voters are diverse, including in their party affiliation.”

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund has conducted an exit poll of Asian American voters in every presidential election since 2004.

“According to our exit poll, Asian Americans lean Democrat, but some ethnic groups, such as Vietnamese, tend to vote Republican. That trend is less true for younger Vietnamese American voters,” said Jerry Vattamala, director of AALDEF’s Democracy Program. “In close races, Asian American voters could be the decisive factor, usually supporting Democratic candidates.”

Vattamala said the issues most important to Asian American voters are the economy, education, healthcare and immigration/refugees- in that order.

“Another interesting point is that the strongest amount of support for Donald Trump is from the limited English proficient and foreign-born Asian American voters,” he told AsAmNews. “The native-born and English proficient Asian American voters have almost no support for Donald Trump. “

The Pew report found among the Asian American voters in 2016, 52 percent of immigrants voted compared to 45 percent of US-born. This has been a consistent pattern since 2000.

Most immigrant voters are from Mexico, followed by the Philippines, India, China, Vietnam, Cuba and Korea.

“The 5 states (California, New York, Florida, Texas, and New Jersey) with at least 1 million immigrant eligible voters account for about two-thirds of the national immigrant eligible voter population,” said Ruiz.

Two-thirds of eligible immigrant voters have been in the country for 20 or more years and most can speak English.

There are also 4.8 million White foreign-born voters and 2.3 million Blacks.

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