JACKSON HEIGHTS, NY – Aswini Anburajan, FI2W reporter
Only in New York City, and especially only in Queens, would this reporter find herself surrounded by three loqacious voters of such different origins — two Bangladeshi men and one Argentinean woman — all eager to break down the reasons why they were voting for Barack Obama.
Mohammed Rahamatullah and Khandkar Haque are good friends and six-year residents of Jackson Heights. They list healthcare and changing world opinion about the U.S. as their top reasons to vote. Haque says that this is his first presidential election. He’s been a U.S. citizen for less than a year.
Rahamatullah joked that the world cares so much about this election that his brother called him from Bangladesh last night to remind him to go to the polls.
Sandra Hidalgo, originally from Argentina, is a 35-year resident of Jackson Heights. She calls McCain “ugly,” says she’s sick of the Republican Party and declares that Obama is the best choice for Latinos. She raised the issue of immigration and questioned –like a Polish voter in Harlem did earlier today– why some people who had been in the country for years couldn’t apply for legal residency.
All three voters talked with passion about the Democratic presidential candidate, declaring adamantly that voting for a Republican would just continue the current administration’s policies.
They also spoke with first hand knowledge of the recent economic crisis, saying that friends’ businesses had suffered tremendously.
Stores have closed in Jackson Heights and the ethnic restaurants that made the area famous in New York have seen their customer-flow dwindle to a trickle. Undocumented immigrants are the first to be hit, said Hidalgo, and she argued that problems in the economy ripple upward.
Polls are open for a few more hours in New York, and the lines are long and getting longer. Though the election hasn’t come to an end, and the votes haven’t been counted, at least in this part of New York people already seem to be celebrating.