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Immigrant New Yorkers Mobilize to Get-Out-the-Vote and Demonstrate their Electoral Power

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Thanu Yakupitiyage,  Main Phone: 212-627-2227 x235, 
(Monday, October 18, 2010)

Immigrant New Yorkers Mobilize to Get-Out-the-Vote and Demonstrate their Electoral Power

Turnout Among New York's Over 1 Million Immigrant Voters Could Sway Election Outcomes

New York- At a press conference this morning, the NYIC and a dozen immigrant organizations announced the final two-week push to get out the immigrant vote as part of an intensified Immigrants Vote! campaign. The statewide campaign, which is coordinated by the New York Immigration Coalition, aims to boost voter turnout among immigrant New Yorkers and draw attention to the decisive role and impact of these voters in New York elections.

“Immigrant voters in New York are fired up and ready to head to the polls on November 2nd,” said Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “The immigration debate has galvanized our community and we are committed to keeping this momentum alive. With each election cycle, our numbers and influence grows; this year is no exception.”

According to a new study released last Thursday by the Immigration Policy Center, New York is home to more than 1 million immigrant voters. With recent public opinion polls suggesting a number of tight races for statewide offices, Congress and State Senate, the immigrant vote could be a deciding factor.

“Like all New Yorkers, immigrant communities have been seriously impacted by the economic downturn and recent budget cuts, noted Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York. “We have a vested interest in the outcomes of this year’s state and federal elections. We need leaders who will fight for us and our families.”

To help increase turnout among immigrant New Yorkers, the Immigrants Vote! campaign began organizing voter education events, voter registration drives, workshops and community forums beginning in August. In the final two weeks before the November 2general election, the campaign is scaling up its efforts to get-out-the-vote. More than a dozen immigrant groups are conducting targeted voter outreach to reach infrequent voters and non-English speakers who are often overlooked by political parties and campaigns. According to results from the 2008 New York City Voter Exit Poll, political parties and campaigns do a notoriously poor job of contacting immigrant voters. In 2008, only about 10% of foreign born voters reported being contacted by political parties or campaigns, roughly half the rate of their native-born counterparts.

“Our Get-Out-The-Vote activities, which include door-to-door canvassing, phone banking and mailings, are critical to ensuring that immigrant voters have up-to-date and accurate information about the elections,” explained Steven Choi, Executive Director at the MinKwon Center for Community Action. “By providing bi-lingual materials, information about how and where to vote, and reminders to get-out-and-vote, our grassroots efforts have a real impact.”

Gonzalo Mercado, Executive Director of El Centro de Inmigrante, said, “It is important that immigrant communities be heard this November through their vote. This is an especially urgent time, what with Arizona’s SB1070 law, similar proposals elsewhere around the country, and, here on Staten Island, the recent wave of hate crimes targeting immigrants. By getting out the vote, immigrant communities exercise their power to push for change.”

Participants in the Immigrants Vote! campaign include a diverse range of organizations who are conducting direct outreach within the communities that they serve. These groups include the Arab-American Association of New York, Arab-American Family Support Center, Asian Americans for Equality, El Centro del Inmigrante, La Fuente /New York Civic Participation Project, Long Island Immigrant Alliance, MinKwon Center for Community Action, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Russian Americans Voter Education League, and South Asian Council for Social Services.

For more information about the Immigrants Vote! campaign, including a list of upcoming events and sample outreach materials, please visit www.ImmigrantsVote.com.

 

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