2020 was one of the most intense Presidential elections in modern history. As a team of Green Card holders and legal immigrants building lives and businesses in the United States, we were frustrated we couldn’t vote, but were eager to do anything we could to help protect and contribute to American democracy. This was a sentiment largely shared amongst the community of politically engaged ‘aliens’ who work at Kin, and across the country at large.
As of January 1, 2021, there were 13.1 million Lawful Permanent Residents living in the United States. (Department of Homeland Security)
This equates to the 5th most populated state and could mean between 20 and 29 electorates.
At Kin, we understand what it means to not be part of the status quo. After all, a large part of our work involves making sure underrepresented points of view have a voice.
We know that belonging and participating in democracy aren’t limited to casting a ballot—this can take many forms. We wanted to make sure that fact was recognized and, in the process, we wanted to motivate others to stay engaged, to support the democratic process, and to help turn out the vote.
Did you know Green Card holders are not allowed to vote but carry many of the same responsibilities that most Americans do, including being drafted, if necessary?
Legal text from USCIS.gov:
As a permanent resident, you are:
- Required to obey all laws of the United States and localities;
- Required to file your income tax returns and report your income to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities;
- Expected to support the democratic form of government (“support” does not include voting. Permanent residents cannot vote in federal, state, or local elections.); and
- Required to register with the Selective Service, if you are a male age 18 through 25.
Founded August 2020, Allies for America is a voter-registration initiative that targets the 13.1 million Green Card holders and legal permanent residents in the United States. It aims to inspire them to support efforts to educate, register, and mobilize their American citizen friends to vote.
From its launch, with just 3 months of online communication and word of mouth, the campaign generated strong engagement on social media, with over 1000 Green Card holders resharing our information to their own networks. More importantly, the campaign galvanized 100+ Green Card holders to take action in real life, offering up their time on Nov 3rd. Just in the state of California, 10+ Green Card holders signed up to become poll workers—10 more toured polling stations, offering water and help.
The campaign even helped secure a partnership with a Green Card holder-owned spirits company, who amplified and supported the initiative to completion.