As Trump Sprints Toward GOP Nomination, Latinos Sprint Toward Citizenship
Donald Trump’s unlikely rise has been a boon for civil engagement—but not just because the GOP front-runner is drumming up Republican primary turnout.
According to The New York Times, Trump is inspiring longtime Latino residents to apply for the citizenship they need to vote in November. Naturalization applications increased by 11% in the 2015 fiscal year over the previous one, The Times reports; in the six months ending in January, applications jumped 16%.
Trump’s rhetoric has consistently alienated Latinos, especially Mexicans after he said that Mexican immigrants were criminals and rapists. He’s advocated for building a wall at the Southern border that would somehow be paid for by Mexico, as well as deporting some 11 million undocumented immigrants. (Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said this week “there is no scenario” wherein his country would pay for the wall, echoing comments by a number of other Mexican officials.)
Mexicans make up the largest national group of the 8.8 million legal U.S. residents eligible to naturalize, according to The Times. Historically, legal Mexican residents have much lower rates of naturalization than other immigrant groups. Nearly two-thirds of Mexicans immigrants eligible to naturalize haven’t, in large part thanks to immigrants’ lack of confidence in their English skills and the high cost of applying.
But with Trump’s path to the Republican nomination growing clearer and more inevitable, Latinos are citing a desire to vote against the candidate in their rush to naturalize.