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Is Donald Trump to credit for an increase in U.S. citizenship applications?

Annually, an average of 800,000 individuals apply to become U.S. citizens via the naturalization process. This year, that number is expected to increase by 25 percent and many are crediting none other than the Republican presidential nominee front-runner, Donald Trump for this increased push towards citizenship. 

Legal permanent residents of the U.S. who meet certain qualifying criteria can apply to become U.S. citizens and therefore vote in political elections. Trump's open hostility towards Mexican immigrants is spurring many of the 2.7 million legal U.S. residents of Mexican decent to apply for citizenship. Bolstering these efforts are measures recently passed by the Obama Administration that, for many immigrants, make the path to U.S. citizenship less burdensome. For example, a credit card can now be used to pay the $680 citizenship application fee and citizenship practice tests are available online.

While the administration has come under fire for these and other measures it's taking to encourage immigrants to apply for citizenship, doing so has many benefits beyond being able to vote including, according to statistical data, increased rates of home ownership and higher wages. Still, it is likely that by increasing the number of Mexican immigrants who become U.S. citizenship, the democrats are also increasing their chances of securing the White House as a recent Washington Post and Univision poll revealed that 80 percent of Latino voters have an "unfavorable view of Mr. Trump."

Permanent residents who wish to become U.S. citizens must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least age 18
  • Have lived in the U.S. for at least five years or
  • Have lived in the U.S. for at least three years and are married to and living with a spouse who is a U.S. citizen or
  • Have served in the U.S. military

Provided an individual meets the criteria referenced above, he or she can apply for citizenship via an Application for Naturalization. Additionally, an individual must pass a citizenship test which includes sections on speaking, reading, writing and civics. For those who wish to become U.S. citizens, an attorney who handles immigration matters can provide advice and assistance.

Source: The New York Times, "More Latinos Seek Citizenship to Vote Against Trump," Julia Preston, March 7, 2016

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ,"I am a permanent resident. How do I apply for U.S. citizenship?," March 9, 2016

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