Thursday, February 2, 2023

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NM's Newly Naturalized Citizens Encouraged to Vote in Midterms

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Thursday, November 3, 2022   

Many newly naturalized citizens will be eligible to vote for the first time next week, including about 18,000 in New Mexico.

According to the National Partnership for New Americans, it is a multiracial, multigenerational and geographically diverse group, which is majority female.

Fabiola Landeros, a newly naturalized citizen and organizer for the group Somos Acción, shared her experience at a recent State Capitol ceremony and encouraged others to make a statement through their vote.

"Collectively our voice is powerful in New Mexico," Landeros asserted. "When we turn out to vote, we have the power to shape our election system, and that we elect elected officials that reflect our New Mexico values."

Landeros promised her group would be knocking on tens of thousands of doors in Bernalillo County to turn out the Latino vote. It is estimated naturalized citizens are now one in 10 eligible voters in the U.S.

Julie Sanchez, director of youth and family services for the City of Santa Fe, said rural communities could create stronger local economies by helping boost the rate of naturalization.

"With higher tax revenues and larger city budgets, local officials would be able to invest in more services, enabling their communities to thrive," Sanchez pointed out.

The National Partnership for New Americans noted suppression and other systemic barriers have kept many eligible voters away from the polls. In addition, growing backlogs at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have created delays in processing applications, taking about eleven months nationally and up to 14 months in Albuquerque.


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