March 7, 2016: Latinos seek citizenship to stop Trump

Donald J. Trump’s harsh campaign rhetoric against Mexican immigrants is mobilizing Latinos to naturalize in time to vote in November, and vote against him. According to a recent New York Times article, Latinos are rushing to become citizens in masses, all in an effort to thwart Trump's ticket to the White House. Among 8.8 million legal residents eligible to naturalize, about 2.7 million are Mexicans, the largest national group.

“I want to vote so Donald Trump won’t win,” said Ms. Villegas, 32, one of several hundred legal residents, mostly Mexicans, who crowded one recent Saturday into a Denver union hall. Volunteers helped them fill out applications for citizenship, which this year are taking about five months for federal officials to approve. “He doesn’t like us,” she said.

Over all, naturalization applications increased by 11 percent in the 2015 fiscal year over the year before, and jumped 14 percent during the six months ending in January, according to federal figures. The pace is picking up by the week, advocates say, and they estimate applications could approach 1 million in 2016, about 200,000 more than the average in recent years.

While naturalizations generally rise during presidential election years, Mr. Trump provided an extra boost this year. He kicked off his campaign in June describing Mexicans as drug traffickers and rapists. His pledge to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it has been a regular applause line. He has vowed to create a deportation force to expel the estimated 11 million immigrants here illegally, evoking mass roundups of the 1950s.

“Donald Trump never! Never!” said Minerva Guerrero Salazar, 40, who works for a uniform rental company after moving here from Mexico in 2002. “He has no conscience when he speaks of Latinos. And he is so rude. I don’t know what kind of education his mother gave him.” Several women said they hoped to be able to vote for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner