With all his rivals swept aside, Donald Trump has inspired enough Republican primary voters to virtually clinch the GOP nomination. But while his notorious rhetoric about building walls and banning Muslims clearly appeal to some, the controversial billionaire appears to have inspired another huge swath of voters: Immigrants.
The Economic Times reports that tens of thousands of immigrants are so alarmed by the prospect of Trump in the White House, they’re rushing the paperwork required to become U.S. citizens.
“It’s ironic that the Trump candidacy is actually inspiring immigrants to become citizens and get involved in this very important election.” — Foulis Peacock
“Trump is dividing us as a country,” said Edgar Ospina, a 50-year-old business owner who resides in Miami. “He’s so negative about immigrants. We’ve got to speak up.”
During an election cycle where immigration has grabbed the spotlight, growing numbers of immigrants like Ospina are applying for naturalization, with an eye on casting their vote in the fall.
“It’s ironic that the Trump candidacy is actually inspiring immigrants to become citizens and get involved in this very important election,” said Foulis Peacock, founder of Immigrant Business. “I became a citizen in 2000 because I wanted to vote in the Gore-Bush election. I wanted to take part in this whole process because I realized it’s essential for my voice to be heard.”
Adds Peacock: “If you’re an immigrant with a green card, it’s so important to become part of the process, become an active citizen and fulfill your civic duties.”
A Washington-based immigrant rights group launched a national campaign called “Stand Up To Hate” is helping coordinate this growing movement nationwide. According to their website, their aim is to “re-channel the anger from hateful rhetoric towards our community by motivating yourself, friends and family to become U.S. citizens.”
The organization has co-sponsored naturalization workshops from Washington state to Nebraska and Massachusetts.
According to government statistics, naturalization applications across the U.S. are up 14 percent in the last six months of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014. In addition, nearly 9 million legal permanent residents, or green-card holders, are eligible to become Americans — about 4 million of those are Hispanic.