As you all know, this year, the immigrant voice will be heard like never before at the ballot boxes. One of the top issues for the New American Voter Electorate is immigration. Now, more than ever, hateful rhetoric and divisive language about immigrants will not win elections.
Politicians trying to use immigration as a wedge issue are in for a rude awakening.
Take, for instance, the NC gubernatorial candidate, Pat McCrory. As the Huffington Post Reports:
Last week, North Carolina’s candidate for governor, Pat McCrory, potentially isolated upwards of 83,000 New American voters in his state when his emails viciously attacking immigrants were leaked online.
According to the Daily Kos, McCrory–citing the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)–a fiercely anti-immigrant hate group that is known for its direct ties to John Tanton, a pioneer of the anti-immigrant movement and avid supporter of eugenics–wrote,
How would you like to be one of these kids who doesn’t get pregnant, works hard in school, doesn’t join a gang, goes to church on Sunday, but when they go down to the fast food restaurant, they are told we can’t hire you because we need bi-lingual employees.
In one fell swoop, McCrory bootlicks the hateful sentiments of extremists and loses a new and powerful voting bloc: New Americans.
This group of voters, defined as naturalized immigrants and the U.S.-born children of immigrants, have a powerful and highly personal connection to the modern immigrant experience that most other Americans don’t.
With true people power on the ground and a new-found political power in vulnerable populations, like immigrants and their children, this election is sure to be different. Hate speech and divisive comments will get you nowhere, Mr. McCrory. And everyone else running for office should take note.