Donald Trump’s incendiary remarks on US immigration policy and Mexican immigrants in the United States may have galvanized the GOP’s conservative base, but it has also spurred another set of voters into action: Latinos.
Their intentions, however, couldn’t be more different. Hortensia Villegas, a mother of 2 children and a legal immigrant from Mexico, never had a good reason to become a full-fledged American citizen—until now. With Donald Trump’s meteoric rise in the primaries and the GOP likely to nominate him as the party’s candidate for the presidential race, Villegas, together with wither parents, her husband’s parents, and her sister, have joined many other Latino immigrants in a bid to naturalize before the November elections.
“I want to vote so Donald Trump won’t win,” Villegas said.
She was among hundreds of legal residents, mostly composed of Mexicans, who gathered in a Denver union hall where volunteers handed out citizenship applications, with processing times by the federal government reportedly taking about 5 months this year.
Spike in Applications
According to federal statistics, citizenship applications increased by 11% in the 2015 fiscal year compared to the same period the year before, jumping by 14% in the last 6 months before January 2016. Immigration advocates predict these figures to pick up this month and expected to hit 1 million applications before the end of 2016.
While naturalization applications typically spike during presidential election season, Trump’s campaign has perhaps driven more immigrants to seek citizenship. The controversial billionaire has been unafraid to make inflammatory statements, calling Mexicans drug traffickers and rapists, promising to build a wall along the southern US border and sending the bill to Mexico, and creating a task force to deport more than 11 million undocumented immigrants from the US.
And it’s not just Mexicans who are in his sights—he’s also vowed to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country.
Trump: “Hispanics Love Me!”
Trump, however, claims Latinos will vote for him, as he has employed thousands of South American workers over the years. Hope Hicks, a Trump campaign spokesperson, insists that Trump’s proposed immigration reforms will ultimately benefit millions of immigrants in the United States. Hicks referred to Trump’s proposals, which includes, “limiting the ability of corporations to replace them with new, lower-wage workers brought in from abroad,” a sentiment that may strike a chord among Hispanic workers, who favor increasing wages instead of replacing them with foreigners who are willing to work for low wages.
But a February poll by the Washington Post and Univision (a Spanish language broadcast television network) shows an overwhelming unfavourable view of Trump by Latinos. In the survey, 80% of respondents held a negative view of Trump, with 72% having a very negative view, which is far more than their views of the other candidates.
If you or anyone you know wants to learn about how to apply for naturalization, contact Lyttle Law Firm today. Schedule a consult by calling our offices at 512-215-5225 or by visiting our website.