Thursday, May 12, 2016

Trump Sparking Surge in Citizenship and Voter Applications

Trump’s Presidential campaign is spurring a record number of citizenship applications and increases in voter registration among Latinos upset by the candidate’s rhetoric and fearful of his plans to crack down on immigration.

Activists, lawmakers and political consultants around the country say Hispanics are flooding into citizenship workshops and Congressional offices and jamming hotlines on how to become U.S. citizens or register to vote. Many say they are primarily motivated by the rise of Trump, who has proposed deporting undocumented immigrants and building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

In California, the number of Hispanics registering to vote doubled in the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2012, according to State data. In Texas, naturalization ceremonies in Houston have swelled to about 2,200 per month, compared with 1,200 before, according to an analysis by the Houston Chronicle. More than 80% of those naturalized then register to vote, compared with 60% previously.

According to the most recent national statistics, more than 185,000 citizenship applications were submitted in the final three months of 2015, up 14% from the year before and up 8% compared with the same period ahead of the 2012 elections. Experts expect a similar, if not larger, uptick for the first three months of 2016 when new Federal data is released in coming weeks.

The nonpartisan group “Stand Up to Hate” coalition said that it helped 12,781 people apply for citizenship in several states in March and April. That is part of broader efforts by several groups, including the Democratic Party and Spanish-language broadcaster Univision, to help millions of people apply for citizenship or register to vote this year. The coalition includes the Service Employees International Union, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and the Latino Victory Foundation. Collectively, they held more than 300 events in March and April nationwide.

The rate of citizenship applications and voter registrations historically swells in the months leading up to a Presidential election as state deadlines draw near. But this year’s increased activity comes as demographers anticipate that this will be the most racially and ethnically diverse election in U.S. history. Nearly a third of eligible voters will be racial minorities, due mostly to growth among Hispanics, according to the Pew Research Center.

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), who represents the San Antonio area, said a citizenship workshop in his district drew more legal permanent residents concerned by Trump’s calls to deport undocumented immigrants. “Their concern is not unfounded,” Castro said. “Is he going to stop with people who are undocumented? He seems like a quick step away from saying if you’re not a citizen, we don’t want permanent residents either.”

Increases are also happening in battleground states with smaller but growing blocs of Hispanic voters that Democrats hope can help them win local, statewide and Congressional races.

In Iowa, labor leaders believe that five times as many Hispanics voted in Presidential Caucuses this year as voted in 2008. In Georgia and North Carolina, the jump in voter registration among Latinos was larger than the increase among whites or blacks.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
Digg! StumbleUpon

No comments: