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YEO Policy Academy: Redistricting and Immigration
YEO Policy Academies are formal weekend trainings that bring together young elected officials to share policy initiatives, network, and enhance critical skills around a particular policy issue. This Academy, focused on Redistricting and Immigration, will provide YEOs with the tools to ensure fair representation in the 2011 redistricting process and discuss involving comprehensive immigration reform at the local and state levels. During the Policy Academy, they will have access to policy information and a robust network of support to turn their ideals into action.
Immigration and Redistricting
Immigration has often been a controversial issue, inseparable from racial, religious, and ethnic prejudice, and America has recently seen significant anti-immigrant sentiment and legislation. However, while some states are aggressively targeting immigrant communities with punitive laws, others are moving forward with positive and integrative policies for the new immigrants coming into their communities. Young elected officials across the country are working to implement policies that benefit these immigrants, from the deterrence of immigration raids, to fighting for fair housing protections. As such, it is increasingly important to educate our state legislators and municipal officers on legislative approaches that help, protect, and foster integration in their communities.
There is one specific policy area affecting immigrants that, unlike the others, arises only once a decade: redistricting.
Next year, state lawmakers and redistricting committees will redraw the boundaries for congressional, state, and local legislative districts based on data from the 2010 Census. The way that these electoral districts are redrawn will greatly affect both minority voters and immigrants. These revisions directly impact the preservation and expansion of minority electoral opportunities. Additionally, if those who are not currently citizens are excluded from redistricting considerations, the communities where these immigrants live will be significantly underrepresented in state and local legislatures. With midterm elections approaching, it is vitally important that young elected officials be educated on the fundamental elements of the redistricting process, as well as how to work for the drawing of districts that encourage an inclusive democracy. By this, they will prove to be invaluable resources for ensuring equitable redistricting in their states and localities, as well as the fair and accurate representation of America’s diverse political voices.
Photos from the Academy