WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 16, 2015) — As we mark Citizenship Day today, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC announces its plan to join with the New Americans Campaign to naturalize as many Asians as possible in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia region (DMV) before the 2016 presidential election.
“This is a region where the Asian American population is booming, and we are already having an impact on local, state and federal elections,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. “Thousands of Asians are eligible to naturalize in this region, and when they do, political candidates will no longer be able to ignore this growing political force.”
Advancing Justice | AAJC is partnering with the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (APALRC) to provide naturalization assistance. Legal assistance is available through the APALRC’s multilingual helpline (202-393-2572) and through clinics in the DMV over the course of the next year. The first clinic will be held on Sat., Oct. 24 from 9 a.m. until noon in Fairfax County, and attorneys will be able to assist anyone who wants help with the citizenship application. Help is available in Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Vietnamese and English. For more information, visit our website. More clinics will be announced in the next few months.
More than 65,000 Asian immigrants in the DMV-area who obtained legal permanent resident status between 1985 and 2005 are eligible to naturalize but have not yet become citizens. About 96 percent of these are voting age.
Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the United States. Based on trends in the past four presidential elections, Asian Americans are expected to reach 5 percent of the voting population by 2025 and 10 percent of the voting population by 2044.
The impact of the Asian American voting bloc has already been felt in the DMV-region, which has the fourth largest Asian American population in the United States. In Maryland, the number of Asian Americans who registered to vote and cast ballots grew 64 percent between 2004 and 2012. Between 2004 and 2012, the number of Asian Americans who registered to vote Virginia increased 136 percent, rates significantly higher than all other racial groups.
In the 2014 Midterms, the Asian American vote became crucial in for the U.S. House race in Loudon County between Barbara Comstock and John Foust. Asian Americans accounted for 13 percent of the voting age population and the candidates courted the Asian American voter to close the margin of victory in the extremely tight race.
Asian Americans were also crucial in state and local elections in Maryland and Virginia in 2014.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC is a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. working to fight for civil and human rights and empower Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to participate in our democracy. Advancing Justice | AAJC is part of a national affiliation that also includes Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice – Chicago and Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.