Latino vote: Citizenship applications increasing

Posted at 4:43 PM, Mar 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-12 20:37:00-05

It's an election year and the number of Latinos working toward U.S. citizenship continues to rise every day. Some are doing it for the sole purpose of being able to vote in this November's presidential election.

Latino citizenship advocates tell the New York Times that naturalization applications in the U.S. could approach 1 million in 2016, about 200,000 more than average.
One possible reason? Donald Trump. His campaign strategy is controversial and his rhetoric against Mexican immigrants is unavoidable.

"It's motivating people to want to be engaged and have a say," said Westminster Councilwoman Maria De Cambra.

She helped organize an event in Brighton on Saturday alongside a Latino outreach group called Protégete

About 60 Latinos were given free help on what steps to take to become citizens. The naturalization process is taking about five months in Colorado right now. That would give legal immigrants enough time to register to vote in November.

'We need to be together," said Areli Figueroa who is working to get naturalized. She told Denver 7 reporter Eric Lupher that she wasn't sure who she would vote for in November.

"It's about our community. Any candidate that wants to help our community you know... that's what we're looking for," she said.

Trump's negative comments on illegal immigrants keeps coming up though. But for Figueroa, the sole purpose for a rush to citizenship isn't about voting against Trump.

Immigration law attorney Hans Meyer, who offered his services at the event in Brighton Saturday, doesn't think Trump is the sole motivator either.

"People want to be fully engaged citizens. They want to participate in civic life. That's one of the tremendous rights and responsibilities of being an American," he said.

The latest Gallup poll shows Trump is only favored by about 12 percent of Latinos, while 77 percent of them have an unfavorable view of the GOP presidential contender. 


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