Election 2016

Latinos Rush to Become Citizens in Time to Vote Against Donald Trump

Naturalization applications are up 11% and counting, even more than previous election years.

Photo Credit: Jamelle Bouie/Flickr Creative Commons

 Donald Trump is all kinds of bad for America. But his candidacy could have an upside for small-d democracy:

Over all, naturalization applications increased by 11 percent in the 2015 fiscal year over the year before, and jumped 14 percent during the six months ending in January, according to federal figures. The pace is picking up by the week, advocates say, and they estimate applications could approach 1 million in 2016, about 200,000 more than the average in recent years.

While naturalizations generally rise during presidential election years, Mr. Trump provided an extra boost this year.

You can see why Trump would light a fire under people to become citizens and voters—and that’s something that could have an impact long beyond 2016, if these new citizens turn out and keep turning out election after election. 

“I want to vote so Donald Trump won’t win,” said Ms. Villegas, 32, one of several hundred legal residents, mostly Mexicans, who crowded one recent Saturday into a Denver union hall. Volunteers helped them fill out applications for citizenship, which this year are taking about five months for federal officials to approve. “He doesn’t like us,” she said.

Yes. And it’s important that people realize that Trump may be louder about his hatred for immigrants, but plenty of other top Republicans are on the same page. Republicans have been setting the stage for the rise of Trump for years now.

Time is running short for immigrants who want to become citizens in time to vote: It takes about five months for citizenship applications to go through.

Laura Clawson is the Labor editor at Daily Kos Labor, and a contributing editor at Daily Kos.

 

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