Midterm Manifest: Elections This November That Will Impact Immigration

By Andrew Soboeiro

It’s never too early to be prepared, and that goes double for elections. On November 6, 2018, citizens in North Carolina and across the nation will have a chance to vote for every level of government. These elections will have a profound effect on governmental policy, including immigration policy. The sooner we begin paying attention to them, the easier it will be for us to make informed decisions, electing candidates who will stand up for the rights of immigrants and all Americans. It is thus important to follow:

North Carolina Competitions

Because it isn’t holding elections for Governor or US Senate, North Carolina likely won’t receive much attention from news media this year. Nonetheless, there will be a number of critical elections here, including for:

  • US House: All 13 of North Carolina’s US House districts are up for election. According to the Cook Political Report, only the 13th Congressional District is competitive, while the 2nd and the 9th could potentially become competitive. These three districts are currently held by Republicans. If Democrats can flip one or more of them, they would strengthen their hands in negotiations on DACA and other immigration policies.
  • General Assembly: All 50 NC Senate seats and all 120 NC House seats are up for election. The GOP currently holds veto-proof majorities in both chambers, but if they lose 4 House seats or 6 Senate seats, Governor Roy Cooper will be able to sustain a veto against party-line legislation. Given that Cooper has been more supportive of immigrant rights than legislative leaders have, this would likely move North Carolina’s policies in a pro-immigration direction.
  • Supreme Court: Two of the seven seats on the North Carolina Supreme Court are up for election. They are currently held by justices Barbara Jackson and Sam Ervin IV. Jackson is being challenged by Anita Earls, the Executive Director of the advocacy group Southern Coalition for Social Justice. The Coalition strongly supports immigrant rights, suggesting that Earls would as well. The court has considerable power to challenge state policies on sanctuary cities, detentions, and countless other areas relating to immigrant rights. Thus at least as far as immigration is concerned, this may well be the most important election of the year in North Carolina.

In addition to these state and Federal offices, there are elections for Durham District Attorney, Wake County Commissioner, and a cornucopia of other local positions. All these races have significant implications for how immigration laws will be enforced in North Carolina.

Summaries for Other States

The Midterms will be happening all over the country, and it behoves us to pay attention to them wherever they occur. The most significant races outside North Carolina include:

  • Gubernatorial Elections: 36 states are having elections for governor, including critical swing states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Colorado. Governors have the power to resist the activities of ICE and other Federal agencies that have been deporting immigrants in increasing numbers. Many also have influence over redistricting and voting rights in their states. They can use this influence to indirectly determine which party controls Congress and what immigration policies will be passed in the future. It is thus extremely important to elect governors who support immigrant rights.
  • State Legislatures: Like governors, state legislatures have a say in redistricting, sanctuary policies, voting rights, and cooperation with Federal immigration officials. The vast majority of states are holding elections for at least one of their legislative houses. Many of these chambers are closely divided, and control may come down to a handful of seats.
  • House Elections: Every US House district is up for reelection. Republicans currently control the chamber, but if Democrats flip 24 seats while holding all their own, they will be the majority party. This will give them more influence over DACA, Federal funding for sanctuary cities, and other immigration issues.
  • US Senate Elections: There are 35 US Senate seats up for election, seven of which the Cook Political Report rates as “Toss Up.” If Republicans can win most of these seats, they will significantly expand their majority; if Democrats win them, they will take control of the chamber. Considering that DACA legislation stalled in the Senate, these elections may determine the future of Dreamers.

From state legislatures to governors to Senators to the President, Vigoda Law Firm keeps track of all political players in the United States and the immigration policies they support. For more information or to request our legal services, call 919-307-7817 or visit our website today.