Immigrants gaining influence in Virginia

In Northern Virginia the voices of immigrants were heard loud and clear in last month’s presidential election. Exit polls showed that 73 percent of all recent immigrants, not just those in the Latino community, voted for Barack Obama to be reelected as president of the United States. Data from the Pew Research Center demonstrated that more Asian Americans have moved to the Democratic Party in the four years since 2008 than is the case with any other minority group.

Asian Americans represent just 3 percent of the national voting population, but they are also the country’s fastest-growing demographic and their influence is starting to be felt beyond states that could be considered to be traditionally blue, such as Hawaii, California, New York and New Jersey, and into swing states like North Carolina and Virginia.

“This area, particularly Fairfax County, is teeming with immigrants from South America, India, Vietnam, South Korea and elsewhere,” says the director of the George Mason University’s Diversity Research and Action Center, Frederic Bemak. “I can’t imagine many of them swooned at Romney’s incessant China bashing or talk of self-deportation for the undocumented.”

McLean resident and director of immigrant advocacy group America’s Voice Frank Sharry says the “tectonic plates are shifting on immigration.” Sharry believes that the conservative voices that are starting to join with the leaders of the Republican Party to call for immigration reform will be a massive development that opens up space for the party to finally do the right thing and assist with the passing of sensible immigration reforms.