This is a post I wrote back on July 6th, but because I’ve just been hearing so much on the news today about the swing state of Virginia, I thought it might be timely to repost the whole thing here now.
Somalis, Ethiopians and Kenyans, many having entered the US as refugees which puts them on the fast track to citizenship, are organizing for Democratic candidate for President, Barack Obama. Wow! Can you believe it! Here is what the Washington Post had to say:
From coast to coast, Somali, Ethiopian, Nigerian and Kenyan Americans are knocking on the doors of their fellow African immigrants, registering new citizens to vote, raising money and preaching Obama’s mantra of hope and change. They hope that his prominence will change their status as one of the nation’s least-recognized immigrant groups, and that he will one day provide aid to help ease the turmoil and poverty in countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan.
One Somali said Obama is like a son, one of them.
“Obama is one generation away from Africa,” said Eyow, who immigrated to the United States nearly 30 years ago. “I have nothing against my brothers and sisters, black people who were born here, but his father is like me. His father was an immigrant….”
Although Eyow says he has nothing against his black brothers who were born here, we have been chronicaling the tensions that are building in the black community partially resulting from the growing realization on the part of native-born black Americans that immigrants are taking their jobs (among other brewing conflicts).
The Post goes on to report that the Migration Policy Institute (in the right hand column you can check for the number of foreign born voters in your state) says the numbers of African immigrants aren’t high enough to swing the election, but organizers have figured out how to have influence in key states like Virginia.
Endale said that in the District, Ethiopians for Obama will not try to influence the national race between Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). Instead, the group will target Ethiopian households in the Northern Virginia suburbs.
“There’s a possibility of getting 10,000 Ethiopians in Virginia,” Endale said. “That could be a game-changer.”
Is anyone checking to make sure they are all citizens and eligible to vote?