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How is immigration driving voters on Super Tuesday?

Massachusetts may not be a border state, but immigration is still on voters' minds on Super Tuesday.
How is immigration driving voters on Super Tuesday?
Posted at 1:58 PM, Mar 05, 2024

It's been far from a mad rush of voters across Massachusetts on Tuesday — but even so, one by one, they entered gymnasiums and town halls statewide to cast their ballots.

Kenneth Barnes and his wife Louise were among them — both voting as independents. The retired couple from Lawrence, Massachusetts, made it clear that immigration helped bring them out today.

"We need some real good leadership. Someone to step up to the plate. Take control," said Kenneth. 

"We should only be allowing immigrants that come in legally, if they come in illegally it puts a strain on the government on where to house them," said Louise. 

Massachusetts may not be a border state, but it's felt the pressure of the immigration crisis in recent years. Back in 2022, a plane carrying 50 asylum seekers was flown from Texas to the island of Martha's Vineyard, at the direction of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The event sparked international headlines. In November, the state's emergency assistance system hit capacity, reaching 7,500 families. It sent many migrant families to waitlists for shelter. Some started sleeping at Logan International Airport.

Sarah Sherman-Stokes is an associate professor of law at Boston University. She says immigration concerns are also intersecting with economic concerns among voters right now.

"There's been a fear-based narrative around immigration. It's become a real flashpoint, and it's become an opportunity for a photo op down at the border. It definitely feels like a narrative of fear, and that's what is driving people to rank immigration as an issue they are concerned about," said Sherman-Stokes.

As the primary season rolls on, immigration is just one of the many things voters are casting their votes for — but it's having a major impact, even this far away from the border.

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