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Election News: How Immigration Influenced Voters and Lawmakers

This summary about election news and what’s next for immigration policies was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Like in 2020, this year’s midterm results are likely to remain unclear after election night, but polls and research points to what issues were driving voters’ decisions.

Throughout this midterm election cycle, Republicans have made immigration a central issue in their campaigns, while the Biden administration and Democrats tried to avoid highlighting it. 

Research findings from an ad tracker by the advocacy organization America’s Voice identified that within 3,200 paid communications from the Republican party and its allies, more than 600 spread the myth of an open border and over 600 connected migrants with drug trade. 

In all, Republicans spent about $38.8 million on over 380 television ads focused on border security and immigration, found AdImpact, a media tracking firm. The Democratic Party spent only $5.5 million. More than half of Democrats’ spending total —$3.7 million— came in Arizona’s Senate and gubernatorial races. 

The GOP’s continued focus on centering immigration underscores the findings from 2018 research that posits that people are more likely to vote for Republicans if their perceived cost of an increase in immigrants is larger than their perceived benefit.

That was exemplified last night when Florida’s incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis re-election after a campaign spent condemning migration. Many counties in state that voted for President Biden in 2020 shifted to the right in the Senate and governor’s races.

But while the GOP worked persistently to make immigration a central issue during this election, an election poll suggests it’s not a top priority for voters when compared to the economy and inflation. 

An election poll led by the African American Research Collaborative, which targeted over 12,000 voters in the final days before the midterms, shows that immigration was not a top issue for voters. Instead key issues — indicated by White, Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American respondents — were rising cost of living; price of gas; women’s reproductive and abortion rights; cost of health care; and reducing crime. 

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New York

How can an undocumented person work in the United States? We spoke with experts on immigration law and labor laws to learn about the avenues for obtaining a work permit in the U.S., as well as undocumented workers’ rights. — Documented

Advocates want to keep working with Hochul, citing accomplishments including Excluded Workers Fund: Advocates credit Gov. Kathy Hochul for a program that helped undocumented victims of Hurricane Ida, and for the fund which provided COVID-19 aid to undocumented workers who didn’t qualify for federal assistance. — City Limits

Around the U.S. 

In defiance of federal law, contractors place shipping containers on border: A wildlife conservationist talks about what’s at stake as Arizona builds a shipping container wall through a critical border habitat. — The Border Chronicle

Massachusetts voters to decide drivers license questions: Massachusetts voters last night voted on whether a new law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain state driver’s licenses should be repealed. — AP News

Latino Republicans hold distinct views on guns and immigration, highlighting their shaky ties to GOP: Regardless of how these midterms turn out, Hispanics have expressed complex and nuanced political attitudes and fluctuating levels of support for the parties over the past 40 years. — Pew Research Center

How the Texas migrant busing program works: The buses are chartered and paid for by Texas, but nonprofits like the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition coordinates with groups in destination cities.  — Texas Tribune

Washington D.C.

Migrants’ accounts prompt investigation into CBP’s practice of confiscating documents: All but four of 16 recently interviewed Venezuelan migrants had said the Border Patrol did not return their personal documents before releasing them. Read more

Swift immigration expulsions of Venezuelans under Title 42 has split families: The Biden administration created a news cycle of confusion and anxiety when it suddenly barred most Venezuelans from entering the U.S., including those joining family members. — New York Times

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