US Im­mi­grants Rush To Be­come Ci­ti­zens

Trump, the GOP front-run­ner, has pledged to de­port the es­ti­mated 11 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing in the US il­le­gally

Fiji Sun - - World News - Times of In­dia Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

On a re­cent Satur­day morn­ing in South Florida, 50-year- old Edgar Ospina stood in a long line of im­mi­grants to take the fi rst step to be­come an Amer­i­can. Ospina has spent al­most half his life in the US af­ter em­i­grat­ing from his na­tive Colom­bia, be­com­ing eli­gi­ble for cit­i­zen­ship in 1990. But with Don­ald Trump be­com­ing a more likely pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee by the day, Ospina de­cided to wait no more, rush­ing the pa­per­work re­quired to be­come a cit­i­zen. “Trump is di­vid­ing us as a coun­try,” said Ospina, owner of a small floor­ing and kitchen re­mod­elling com­pany. “He’s so neg­a­tive about im­mi­grants. We’ve got to speak up.” Na­tion­wide, im­mi­grants like Ospina are among tens of thou­sands ap­ply­ing for nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion in a year when immigration has taken cen­ter stage in the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, es­pe­cially in the race for the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion. Mr Trump, the GOP fron­trun­ner, has pledged to de­port the es­ti­mated 11 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing in the US il­le­gally. He’s also vowed to bar Mus­lims from en­ter­ing the coun­try and threat­ened to cut off re­mit­tances that Mex­i­can im­mi­grants in the US send back home.

And he’s called for building a bor­der wall — among other pro­pos­als to deal with un­law­ful immigration, say­ing the fed­eral govern­ment has failed to pro­tect the bor­der from peo­ple and drugs il­le­gally en­ter­ing the coun­try. That rhetoric, im­mi­grant ad­vo­cates and law­mak­ers say, is driv­ing many for­eign- born res­i­dents to seek cit­i­zen­ship. “There is fear of a Trump pres­i­dency,” said Maria Ponce of iAmer­ica Ac­tion, a Washington-based im­mi­grant rights group that is team­ing up with other or­gan­i­sa­tions to help those seek­ing cit­i­zen­ship — part of a na­tional cam­paign called “Stand Up To Hate.”

Spon­sor

They’ve spon­sored nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion work­shops from Washington state to Ne­braska and Mas­sachusetts.

Na­tion­wide, nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion ap­pli­ca­tions are up 14 per cent in the last six months of 2015 com­pared with the same pe­riod in 2014, ac­cord­ing to the govern­ment. And the pool of fu­ture US ci­ti­zens is large. Nearly nine mil­lion legal per­ma­nent res­i­dents, or green­card hold­ers, are eli­gi­ble to be­come Amer­i­cans. Of those, about four mil­lion are His­panic.

Against Don­ald Trump...US im­mi­grants are fast-track­ing their nat­u­ral­i­sa­tion pa­pers fear­ing Mr Trump’s pol­icy on il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

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