From the very start of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants have been controversial.
Upon announcing his run for the White House, he made statements that implied that most immigrants from Mexico are involved in drugs and criminal activity. In the following months, he has continued to make statements about building a border wall, among other actions to curb immigration. Has this led to a surge in legal Mexican immigrants seeking naturalization to vote against Trump? A recent article in the New York Times speculates that it has.
Election Season Boosts Naturalization Applications
The article indicates that there tends to be an increase in legal immigrants seeking citizenship to vote in a presidential election. However, Trump's comments may have led to an additional increase this year. In the six-month period ending in January, naturalization applications increased by 14 percent over the preceding year. The estimated number of naturalization applications could reach one million in 2016. This would be approximately 200,000 more than the average in recent years.
Traditionally, Mexican immigrants have been less likely to seek citizenship than other immigrant groups. About 2.7 million of the 8.8 million legal residents eligible for citizenship are Mexicans, according to federal figures. While 68 percent of all immigrants become citizens, only 36 percent of eligible Mexican immigrants become citizens. Donald Trump may be the push that some legal Mexican immigrants need to look beyond their green cards and apply for naturalization.
The Right To Vote Is Only One Reason To Become A Citizen
While the right to vote is an important right and a good reason to seek citizenship, it is certainly not the only reason. As mentioned in the article, becoming a citizen may give legal permanent residents a chance at a better income and homeownership.
One of the reasons that many people are hesitant to seek citizenship is the complexity of the naturalization process. At Miley & Brown, P.C., our immigration attorneys have been guiding immigrants through this process since 1985. Whatever your reason for seeking United States citizenship, we can help.