A report by Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ), a nonprofit civil rights group, released a study last week that shows that Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial group in the South, reported the Huffington Post.
The report shows the number of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) living in the South increased by 70 percent from 2000 to 2010, with their population growing to nearly 4 million south of the Mason-Dixon.
The large increase in Asian Americans means that they are now a very crucial voting bloc, and have more political power in the South than ever before.
“The numbers are clear: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are by far the fastest growing racial group in the South, even outpacing the growth of Latinos,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of AAAJ, in a statement. “What this indicates is that these communities will be a driving force in the South’s economy and provide the margin of victory in future elections.”
According to the report, the number of Asian Americans registered to vote has tripled in some Southern states. In Virginia, the number increased by 136 percent between 2000 and 2012, and Asian Americans and NPHIs casting ballots “increased by nearly 180 percent between 2004 and 2012.”
In terms of political matters, immigration is likely to be immensely important to Asian Americans, as “approximately two thirds of Asian Americans in the South are immigrants.”
“Federal, state, and local governments should direct adequate resources toward the integration of growing Asian American and Pacific Islander immigrant communities,” reads the report. “Meanwhile, Congress and the president must address the broken immigration system through comprehensive reform legislation and executive action.”
A survey sponsored by the AAAJ found that in 2012, nearly 80 percent of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders voted, and over two-thirds of them cast ballots for President Obama. Despite a higher voter turnout than the national average, authors of the report say Asian Ameicans and NHPIs haven’t yet reached their full political power.
“Federal, state, and local agencies and elected officials should increase their investment in community building and civic engagement efforts targeting Asian Americans and NHPI in partnership with community-based organizations.”
The report also says that organizations should “increase investment in voter registration and mobilization efforts targeting Asian American and NHPI communities,” and “strengthen and vigorously enforce voter protection laws and oppose policies that impose additional barriers to voting, such as overly burdensome and unnecessary voter identification measures.”