At least for a few days, the outcome of the 2020 presidential elections is still unclear. The country is divided, and the winner will determine how the country deals with many controversial topics — from the pandemic, to immigration, to the economy.
Citizens are hitting the polls to cast their ballot, hoping for the changes they want. But some immigrants who haven’t gained American citizenship are excluded from voting for their future.
Consider Elias Ezagury, a student who immigrated to Miami from Venezuela four years ago looking for a better life and future.
“Personally, in my case, being an immigrant student without the right to vote for the next elections could affect my situation,” he says, adding that the winners will likely, “determine my status as an immigrant in this country.”
Presidents, as well as others in the U.S. Senate and House will determine laws that make it possible for international students to continue their education in America or force them to return home.
He said it is frustrating to see how many of his American friends can vote.
According to Ron Hayduk in the magazine “Jacobin” in New York, “This exclusion is a fundamental violation of their self-determination and affront to one of their most basic, inviolable rights.”
Carlos Ruiz del Vizo, another Venezuelan immigrant, arrived in 2016. He is more understanding of his inability to vote.
“I have mixed feelings toward the [ability] of us immigrants to vote in the presidential elections,” said Ruiz del Vizo. “I understand that immigrants have to follow and respect certain rules to be eligible. Some of us are still adapting to the place and its system.”
Ruiz and his wife are awaiting residency. Watching the ugly debates and attacks sometimes make it feel like home.
“Sometimes, I feel I am reliving the political situation of Venezuela,” said Ruiz. “To me, these elections have been very tense and impolite from both sides. As an immigrant who cannot vote, all I can do right now is hope for the best.”
Eighteen-year-old Aquiles Barreto moved to the United States six years ago from Venezuela. He has applied for asylum, but has yet to receive an answer.
His family mostly supports Biden/Harris. They want Trump gone because he has made life harder for Hispanics.
“I think it’s important for only citizens to vote, and that’s how it should be,” said Barreto. “But I’m frustrated for not having my voice heard.”