Ahead of the pivotal 2024 U.S. presidential election, a striking new analysis reveals over 23 million naturalized American citizens, originally immigrants, are now eligible voters. This insight comes from the American Immigration Council, highlighting the growing electoral influence of the nation’s immigrant population, bolstered by the annual arrival of more than a million legal immigrants.
The analysis underscores the expanding political clout of these voters, projected to increase in the coming decade. In some states, these foreign-born voters already hold the potential to sway election outcomes.
With figures based on 2021 data, nearly 24 million immigrants have attained U.S. citizenship, making them eligible to participate in next year’s election. This group represents an estimated 1-in-10 of all eligible voters in 2024, marking a potentially unprecedented proportion of foreign-born voters in the American electorate.
This demographic shift is particularly impactful given the razor-thin margins in presidential elections, especially in swing states. For example, in the 2020 election, key states were won by narrow margins, underscoring the significant influence these voters could wield.
The political leanings of foreign-born voters tend to favor Democratic presidential candidates. For instance, in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton secured 64 percent of the foreign-born vote, compared to Donald Trump’s 31 percent, as per CNN exit polls. In contrast, Trump held a lead among native-born American voters.
This trend in voter preference could have dramatic implications, as evidenced by projections that the U.S. foreign-born population may reach 50 million under Biden’s administration. Most legal immigrants arrive through “chain migration,” where newly naturalized citizens sponsor relatives for green cards.
By 2043, the U.S. is poised to add another 15 million foreign-born voters if current legal immigration levels continue, many through family ties. This demographic shift presents a transformative potential for future American elections.